Have you heard about OpenID? The simple idea that your web address is one form of identity, just like your email adddress or even your physical address? Well, back in December, we mentioned how OpenID has been gaining momentum like crazy, but today, things just went to a whole new level.You see, OpenID was originally created by Brad Fitzpatrick, who created LiveJournal (along with a ton of other open source platform software) and is one of the chief geeks here at Six Apart. Yesterday was Brad’s birthday, but today is when he really gets the best present: Microsoft is supporting OpenID. Brad posted a bit about the news in his journal.
Now, since we’re a company that releases tons of open source code and lives in the Web 2.0 world, we were a little skeptical, just like you might be. But the most reassuring sign of Microsoft’s endorsement is that they’re integrating OpenID with their CardSpace initiative. As Johannes Ernst, one of the leading advocates of OpenID said, it’s a little bit like OpenID and CardSpace got married.
And just as important was the way that Microsoft told the story. Though there’s a traditional press release as part of Microsoft’s presence in the RSA Conference, it’s reassuring to see Bill Gates himself speaking at length and in detail about OpenID in a way that shows he truly understands the technology.
So what does this mean for a non-geek? As of today, your web adddress, like the URL for your Vox blog or your LiveJournal, is a form of identity. There are a number of websites which already support this. But Microsoft is investing an enormous amount of resources in helping to create a new Internet identity infrastructure around CardSpace. There’s been worry that the CardSpace intiative wouldn’t be open enough, wouldn’t support existing efforts by Web 2.0 companies, or wouldn’t take advantage of the success that lightweight identity efforts have had.
As of today, we’ve got some reason to hope that all the pieces of the identity puzzle are going to play nicely together. (Happy Birthday, Brad!)
Around the web
There’s been an enormous amount of attention paid to this announcement, which we’re delighted to see. Some highlights:
- Kim Cameron, Identity Architect at Microsoft, weighs in with a number of ringing endorsements.
- Johannes Ernst has a number of outstanding background informational posts about today’s announcements, as well as the OpenID effort overall
- A news announcement at Sxip, whose Dick Hardt has been talking passionately about online identity for years.
- Scott Kveton, CEO of JanRain shares the announcement, capping off the excellent work that JanRain has been doing in encouraging adoption and development around OpenID.
- Verisign picks up the announcement as well, and their David Recordon highlights one of the cool little victories of the day — OpenID on the homepage of Google News.
It’s clearly time for you to get started with OpenID. Doing so is easy.
- Sign up for Vox or Sign up for LiveJournal and get a free blog that can work as your OpenID address.
- If you’re a developer, take a look at the OpenID homepage and OpenID Enabled for resources on adding OpenID support to your applications.
- Check out some of the press coverage that’s already starting to come in, like Dan Farber’s piece at ZDNet, Brady Forrest’s overview on O’Reilly Radar, Ryan Singel’s post on Wired, and Michael Singer’s article in InformationWeek.
(Thanks to Ryan Singel for the photo.)