Google, Microsoft, Verisign and IBM join OpenID

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Confirming my TechCrunch UK story in early January, Microsoft, Verisign, Google and IBM (I just missed out Microsoft) have all now formally announced they will be joining the OpenID foundation, taking seats as the organisation’s first corporate board members.

The Foundation, formed 18 months ago, says it “will not dictate the technical direction of OpenID; instead it will help enable and protect whatever is created by the community.” in other words the foundation will back the OpenID standard with money. Other companies wanting to join the board, rather than be a “community member” will also have to pay for the privilege.

Digg, Technorati, AOL, Plaxo and WikiPedia have previously announced their intention to support the standard which is seen as an easy way for users to use a single digital identity across the Internet. Three weeks ago Yahoo officially jumped on the bandwagon, added its roughly 250 million user IDs, tripling the existing 120 million valid OpenID accounts in one move. The OpenID Foundation has worked feverishly behind the scenes to convince all the major Internet players that a single log-in for their services could increase consumer adoption of new web services and applications. It’s no coincidence that Brad Fitzpatrick, leader of the Google-led OpenSocial project is also widely credited as the creator of the OpenID concept.
Google had already rolled out OpenID support for comments on it Blogger platform back in November. With Google, Microsoft, Verisign, and IBM joining the OpenID movement, the initiative is now firmly on track to become the defacto standard for ‘single-sign-on’ identity online.

  • David Recordon

    Yahoo! is actually the fifth company which joined the Foundation’s board today.

  • Ivan

    I’m not sure I like the idea of that bunch forming up the board. Isn’t that what we call ‘capture’?

  • Tony Hirst

    Via an experimental – but available – service, Open University students can now get in to OpenID enabled sites using an OpenID based on their personal OU computer user id, and authenticated against the OU’s central authentication system:

    With over 150, 000 students potentially OpenID enabled, it will be interesting to see how many start to avail themselves of the service…

  • Carsten Pötter

    Plaxo, Technorati and AOL have not only announced their intention to support OpenID, they already do so; they even consume OpenIDs.

  • Yawn another committee

    I am confused, didn’t this group of companies join the group which supports openid? So why do it twice and what is the difference if any?

    Instead of talking about it lets focus on getting openid simplified and out into the mass market.

  • Gary Reid

    @Yawn another committee
    I agree, until it’s widely used it doesn’t matter who supports it. And as Microsoft Passport proved having giant backing doesn’t equal widespread mainstream adoption.

  • asad

    This is great that will happend. The saher their technologies with each other.

  • Emma Kane

    Good. I’m so fed up of signing up for the latest beta and putting the same information in over and over again. The only downside, of course, is that this starts to tie together secret online personas – I might not want my clients to browse my flickr photos…

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