The distributed identity system, OpenID has received support from one of the most unlikely corners: Microsoft.
If you’re not familiar with the OpenID system, I’ll just run over it now. With an OpenID ID you can login to a supporting site just by giving it your profile’s URL. In my case this is
That site sets a few variables and redirects you to your OpenID’s provider’s site where you enter your login information. The strength of this is:
- You pick the provider you trust. You are not forced to use Microsoft or Yahoo. You can even make your own.
- You only need one password for every site.
- Sites you use never need know a username or password. That means there’s less chance of attack on your other accounts if you signup on a site with details you use on another account.
- You can chose which sites are allowed access to certain details. If you don’t want a site to have you email address you can easily restrict if when the site attempts to access your details.
- Changing your profile’s details is central.
Microsoft is spinning this power into CardSpace, their own identity system.
They could have approached the system from a competitive viewpoint but, based on the most recent announcements, it sounds like it’s going to marry together with OpenID to cover both usage segments.
This means OpenID has it’s first really mainstream high-profile supporter. If they carry on to implement this into their Live accounts, this should be an amazing amount of support and the other big account providers (Yahoo!, Google, AOL) would follow fairly quickly.