Google (Sort Of) Embraces OpenID

Becomes provider, not relying party

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Although this makes some security professionals want to give them a three-hour lecture, lots of people use the same password for a number of different online accounts.  It’s just easy.  Easier still is the concept of OpenID, and Google has become an OpenID provider.

The main idea, as explained by Erich Sachs on the Google Code Blog: "Websites can now allow Google Account users to login to their website by using the OpenID protocol."  Plaxo and Zoho are two of the first sites to do so.

Unfortunately, like Yahoo (and more than a couple of other companies) before it, Google hasn’t become what OpenID organizers call a relying party.  This means that the idea of a universal login becomes more of a one-way street, with Google not acknowledging OpenIDs created elsewhere on the Web.

Admittedly, this roadblock keeps the security problems from getting too big.  But that’s more of a positive side effect than any sort of goal.

Google may get around to addressing this issue, anyway.  The blog post states, "We hope the continued evolution of both the technical features of OpenID, as well as the improvements in user experience . . . will lead to a solution that can be widely deployed for federated login."

Google (Sort Of) Embraces OpenID
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  • http://www.wecando.biz Ian Hendry

    This is an interesting and very welcomed development (Google – what took you so long?), but OpenID is still too tricky to use.  It isn’t hard to make it easiy to carry round a single ID which you can use on a stack of sites, but unfortunately it isn’t widely supported and where it is, is isn’t complete — as Google does, many sites provide it only one way.

    Making logins easier really needs to be cracked to help make the web a lot easier to use for peopel who aren’t security experts, but still want to be secure.

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ


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