OpenID: Who Can You Rely On?

Those of us who use (or at least try) too many web services tend to regard OpenID as good news: it means that each of us can sign in to one service in order to access multiple services. For example, I use ClaimID as my OpenID provider. Once I’ve signed on their, I can use the OpenID it provides me with to sign in to services such as Highrise and…

Now we get to the bad news. Most of the services I use don’t accept OpenID. For example, if you wanted to comment on this post, having an OpenID wouldn’t help you, because WordPress.com doesn’t accept them. It does issue them, though; indeed, I tend to use the OpenID associated with this blog when I leave comments at Blogger, which does accept OpenIDs.

Many have argued against sites providing, but not accepting, OpenID. I did so, rather gently, and with reference to WordPress, about a year ago. Today, Mike Arrington made a similar argument, but rather more vigorously and with reference to web bigcos, today.

The problem… is that the Big Four Internet companies… have made big press announcements about their support for OpenID, but haven’t done enough to actually implement it. Microsoft has done absolutely nothing, even though Bill Gates announced their support over a year ago. Google has limited its support to Blogger, where it is both an Issuing and Relying party. Yahoo and AOL are Issuing parties only.

… Putting my conspiracy theory hat on, it looks to me like these companies want all the positive press that comes from adopting this open standard, but none of the downside. By becoming Issuing parties, AOL and Yahoo hope to see their users logging in all over the Internet with those credentials. But they don’t accept IDs from anywhere else, so anyone that uses their services has to create new credentials with them. It’s all gain, no pain.

Meanwhile, the service that I’d really like to get my OpenID from doesn’t issue OpenIDs – or accept them. It’s FriendFeed: here’s my FriendFeed. An OpenID is actually a URI, and the FriendFeed page is as good an identity page as any.

Hey, I just remembered reading the news that FriendFeed now has an API. Someone should set up a service that issues you an OpenID and gives puts stuff from your FriendFeed on your page.

1 thought on “OpenID: Who Can You Rely On?”

  1. The conspiracy theory makes sense with everyone except wordpress… I use wordpress on my own hosting as it appears you do, so if the blog admin doesn’t want people to have to create or re-enter credentials with every post, it makes sense that openID should be an option. I really like Blogger’s comment form that gives you so many options and accepts OpenID. I’m considering moving my blog over to them for that purpose…

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