The last video interview I did at the Next09 conference in Hamburg that I wanted to feature here on TechCrunch is the conversation I had with mr. Captain Web 2.0 himself, open web advocate Chris Messina. Besides his involvements with Citizen Agency, the DiSo Project and Vidoop, Messina somehow finds the time to also be closely involved with the OpenID Foundation as a board member and persistent evangelist, so we talked about that a little.
As a reminder, OpenID is a decentralized, distributed single sign-on method that allows users to log onto many services with the same digital identity. That identity can be one of your current profiles on the web, in case the company you registered it with is an OpenID provider.
Most of the major players on the Internet are currently providers, including such companies as MySpace, Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, PayPal, AOL, and many more, but very few of them have actually become a relying party as well (which would allow someone to log onto Yahoo with their AOL id, for example).
About a year ago, Michael argued that companies who make a lot of noise when they become providers but don’t move (quickly enough) to also become relying parties could be exploiting the project for PR reasons and take the gain without the pain.
And truth be told, not much has changed since then, even if usage seems to be swinging upwards. Most of the big names that are issuing OpenID parties have yet to support the project by allowing users to effectively be able to sign in to their services with third-party digital identities. The big exception – surprisingly – is Facebook, the first big network that will truly embrace OpenID even if it has a service that competes directly with it (Facebook Connect). For more perspective on that, you should go read the guest post Facebook Connect and OpenID Relationship Status: “It’s Complicated”.
Anyway, Messina and I talked about the current state of OpenID, the love from Facebook, how he hopes the government will once become a massive relying party, the challenges ahead and more specifically if OpenID has a chance against Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, Twitter Connect, etc.