Can OpenID Takeoff?

January 16, 2008

openid.pngI just returned from a WebGuild event (which was great BTW with around 200 attendees) thinking about an interesting discussion we had about OpenID. One of the panelists asked how many people in the audience are familiar about OpenID. It turns out that about 40% of them knew about it. But when he asked about how many people use OpenID, only 2 hands were ‘sort of’ up. This certainly says something.

The concept of OpenID is really great. We need a common authentication across different applications on the web. We certainly will have a solution some day going forward. But is OpenID the solution? I seriously doubt it. Why?

Well, I know the concept of OpenID. But if you ask me how to use it, my frank answer is ‘I don’t know’. I know I have some account, but I don’t know how to use it. It is simply complicated. On the web, we are all used to the username/password form of authentication. If that behavior has to change, it is a HUGE ask. Change is tough. Just for this reason alone, I think OpenID may not be THE open authentication system for the web.

 Update: Yahoo implements OpenID. Can Yahoo save the project? I doubt it.

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