WIRED Blogs: 27B Stroke 6: In a keynote speech at the RSA security conference earlier today Bill Gates reportedly announced that Microsoft was going to support OpenID.
OpenID is an open, decentralized identity system that attempts to provide a solution to the multiple log on ID systems to access various sites across the internet.
Microsoft’s support for OpenID would be the most significant and visible boost yet to the OpenID system. Many smaller sites (such as our own site Zooomr, LiveJournal and JanRain) have been some of the pioneers recommending the system to our users. Although I’m not exactly sure on the details on how deeply Microsoft plans to support OpenID, Gates was quoted as saying,
“We saw some of the people working in the Web 2.0 world and they came up with OpenID 2.0.”
“We were working on CardSpace, one growing up from the blog world and one from the enterprise space. And in fact, we are going to support OpenID 2.0 and they are expanding so they are going to have CardSpace as a standard capability, because it solves some attacks, particularly Man-In-The-Middle attacks.”
One of the significant differences between OpenID and other single identity log on solutions offered such as Microsoft’s own Passport system or similar identity systems offered by Yahoo and Google is that OpenID is non profit and is not designed to be used as a marketing vehicle.
OpenID clearly states on their official site: “Nobody should own this. Nobody’s planning on making any money from this. The goal is to release every part of this under the most liberal licenses possible, so there’s no money or licensing or registering required to play. It benefits the community as a whole if something like this exists, and we’re all a part of the community.”
Recently Yahoo came under significant fire for their decision to force Flickr users to adopt Yahoo’s log on ID system by March 15th. Much of this fire came from a distrust by Flickr users with Yahoo and concerns that by adopting an Yahoo ID that these users would be subjected to unwanted marketing efforts from Yahoo.
Hopefully with Microsoft now supporting OpenID, Yahoo and Google will consider the standard as a legitimate log on for their properties as well. Yahoo recently was in the news When Simon Willison an ex-Yahoo engineer built a service allowing people to use their Yahoo ID as an OpenID account. Although this kind of unofficial support is nice. It still does not allow the reverse, which would be to let someone access various Yahoo properties (Flickr, Delicious, Upcoming, etc.) with an OpenID account.