Updated: Feb 3, 2008...

Yahoo has joined the OpenID universe: http://openid.yahoo.com/, use your existing Yahoo or Flickr account to login to OpenID enabled sites.

Originally posted on: Feb 11, 2007...

I won't rant about all the usernames and passwords I need to keep track of for my personal and professional use because I can already see everyone nodding.

In the past, Microsoft tried to solve this problem for the masses with their Passport authentication service (now known as Windows Live ID). The idea is that you maintain one user ID and password with a trusted site and other sites can delegate user logins to the trusted site. Anyone with a hotmail account automatically had a passport. The problem here was it was Microsoft and they were not able to overcome the paranoia / distrust / hate / etc... that many in the industry have for them. Also, if I recall correctly from when I considered adding this feature to Ticketmaster's ReserveAmerica.com, Microsoft was charging for the use of their API. However, many took notice and decided that a consortium of industry leaders should collaborate on such a service.

Thus was born the Liberty Alliance and their Project Liberty. And so I was heartened, it will take some time but this effort seemed to have some significant backing and should have revolutionized the way we manage our online identities. I was patient, every time I needed to create yet-another-login on a new site I would recall the promise of Passport and Liberty and wonder - what ever happened? As the years passed, patience turned to apathy as I gave up hope that any sites I care to visit or enterprise services I use will adopt Project Liberty. Perhaps this will yet emerge as a useful platform, or is rampantly being adopted - just not by the 7,543 sites and services that I seem to need to track my IDs on.

Today I see new hope!

Not from a press release, not from an editorial article but from a real live site (Simile Wiki) that is using an existing platform which seems poised to capture critical mass in this space.

OpenID exists today and you have your choice of authentication providers to maintain your trusted account with. It seems that adoption is still early but shows much promise with authentication services and libraries available. If you have a Technorati account then you're all set to play, just login to Technorati and then provide your profile URL (http://technorati.com/profile/<your account name>) as an OpenID identifier into any site that allows authentication using OpenID (e.g. http://www.openidenabled.com/).

I've found that the Technorati authentication is a little buggy, it claims an error but one or two browser reloads corrects the problem. This will likely get corrected soon and there are other service providers to choose from if you wish. Also, you can find implementations of OpenID libraries in most popular web development languages if you prefer to run your own server.

ClaimID can be used in the same manner as Technorati and I have found that the site I tested was able to reconcile two OpenIDs to the same account - how very cool... ClaimID authentication seems to not suffer from Technorati's bugs but does not currently support as many stored profile attributes for distribution to trusted sites when creating accounts.

Once again, the FOSS community demonstrates how it can overcome 300 pound gorillas and bring new technologies to market quicker than an industry consortium.

Hopefully this will be one way technology can begin simplifying our lives as intended, a promise long unfulfilled. Do your part by participating as a user and site developer!

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