Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Yahoo OpenID (click for the site) Today came an announcement that represents a pretty big step in the identity space. Yahoo! announced they have rolled out beta support for OpenID v2.0 and that Yahoo! is now a provider of OpenIDs. In fact, anyone who has a Yahoo! account can quickly generate a Yahoo! or Flickr-branded OpenID to sign onto any web site that supports OpenID v2.0 for authentication. That's 248 million accounts at Yahoo! that can now potentially be leveraged across the Internet for sign-on.

OpenID is an important standard that came out of the open-source community, which will likely change the way we provide identifying information and gain access to secured web sites on the Internet. It allows its users to have a single identity that can be used across different sites on the Internet. It also allows users to have the proper level of control over how they identify themselves and who they want to trust with that process.

One significant key to success for OpenID as a standard is adoption by a set of trusted identity "providers" - or OpenID-issuing organizations that people are comfortable with when it comes to asserting their identity information. With Yahoo! a large number of regular, everyday people can use their existing accounts to perform OpenID logins on any site supporting the standard. In the future, the hope is that other consumer-trusted providers will see the value of brand recognition that goes along with being the OpenID provider for consumers. Yahoo has me as an OpenID client now, which means every time I log onto an OpenID-enabled site and use that ID, I am by default thinking on some level about Yahoo! -- Pretty smart. It's time for banks, other financial service providers, and similar industries to seriously start thinking this one through. It's coming, and now is the time to be on the bandwagon.

Where can you use your OpenID to log in? Lots of places. There's a list of web sites over at, a service provided by Portland company JanRain. The people at JanRain have created some great software and services around the OpenID standard that businesses can use to leverage OpenID, and that enable social networks around the standard. It's pretty cool stuff.

Here's some basic information about OpenID from the Yahoo! OpenID provider site:

What is OpenID?

In a nutshell, the OpenID technology makes life simpler by having only one username and password to remember.

Once you have enabled your Yahoo! account for OpenID access, you only need to remember your Yahoo! ID and password to use hundreds of websites... So bid farewell to password spreadsheets and stickies all over your desk!

When you are on a web site that supports OpenID login, simply look for a Yahoo! login button. Or if you see a text box with an OpenID icon, simply type in "". You will be sent to Yahoo! to verify your Yahoo! ID and password, and then you will be able to continue on.

You can find out even more at (the OpenID Foundation), and it's worth pointing out that you can also get an OpenID from a slew of other organizations - after all, it's all about making it your choice. The OpenID foundation keeps a list of providers on its wiki and at this link.

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IT Security | Safe Computing | Tech
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 19:46:31 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Thursday, 31 January 2008 06:13:01 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Hey Now Greg,
This sure is a big step when anyone looks @ OpenID vs. CardSpace.
RunAs Fan,
Friday, 01 February 2008 10:59:24 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
If Yahoo! accepts the buyout from Microsoft it will be interesting how this pans out with MS owning CardSpace and using then using OpenID.
Friday, 01 February 2008 13:38:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Brent -

Yes and no. First of all, it's probably important to point out that Yahoo! doesn't have to accept in order for it to happen. the language in the Microsoft letter made it pretty clear they intend to acquire the stock, I think.

On the CardSpace question, the two technologies are a lot more compatible than most realize. In fact, one could think of cardpace information cards as a "something I have" that works alongside an OpenID identifier. There are a variety of possibilities.

But one thing is clear: Someone needs to come up with an identity story out of this mess that works.
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