Over a year ago I began spending a lot of time focusing on the OpenID standard. I went so far as to say that 2007 would be the year of OpenID. Within a month of my article the buzz had died down and there appeared to be no support behind the movement. Large companies including AOL sent out press releases stating their support of the standard which simply meant that you could use their site as your OpenID provider. Nobody wanted to accept OpenID as a way to login.
Today big news came out from Yahoo who announced their support of OpenID as a format for logging in. This is a big win for the movement supporters. This is a huge first step toward the organization of identity on the web. OpenID provides users with a single login that works across multiple unaffiliated websites. With the recent announcement that Facebook and other social networks have joined the data portability work group, the buzz has been increasing.
As Caroline McCarthy points out, one major downfall of the OpenID standard is that it does not provide a “central repository for identity management.” That’s a major issue and as such OpenID is just a first step toward a web in which identity is effectively managed and portable. It appears as though 2008 may turn out to be the year that web identity gets pushed to the forefront. This is a huge step in the right direction and Yahoo deserves the recognition. Do you think we’ll begin to see portable identities in 2008?