I was reading on TechCrunch today that Yahoo has implemented OpenID, effectively tripling the number of OpenID accounts. They’ll be going into Beta at the end of the month. This is a huge win for the project, but it got me to thinking.
Remember way back when Microsoft Passport (Microsoft calls it Live ID now I believe and its used mostly on just their sites) came out it was supposed to be the answer to all our password woes? Create a Passport account and log in with the same username and password on any site that implemented it. Well, how far did it get? Nowhere. At least nowhere fast. Reason being I think implementation wasn’t all that easy and there was no real need for it without the abundance of internet users that we have today.
So what will make OpenID different? Well, first, the amount of social networking and information sites, not to mention the sheer number of people online, will make the adoption of some single account interface more appealing at some point. Second, with huge names like Yahoo, Google, Verisign, and IBM getting into the mix, something cool like this will have a shot at gaining some traction. I know I’d love to have one log in for all the sites I use daily. Remembering usernames and passwords is a pain.
Take this one step further. I’m in the e-commerce industry. I started thinking that I’d love to use something like this in all of the e-commerce sites we run. I would basically have one central spot to store authentication and account information instead of separate databases. So what if major brands started getting in on this? Think about it. Amazon, Gap, Target, WalMart, Best Buy, etc. etc. etc. are all on OpenID. You can effectively shop with the same authentication everywhere. No more forgot password reminders because you use this ID every day. You’d never forget! How cool would that be?