OpenID - Good or Bad?

OpenIDOpenID is an interesting idea, one that has the potential to solve one of the most annoying issues of today's websites, multiple accounts.

I like to try out lots of the new websites and services that keep appearing and the first thing I have to do with almost all of them is to create a new account, another user name and password. Most of the time this isn't to bad as I can use the same details but inevitably there are some sites who think my password is to insecure or my user name has already been registered. OpenID aims to solve this by allowing users to log into and register on websites using an existing account, this way you will only have one user name and password that is independent of the service you are signing up for.

OpenID has been around for a while but only recently has it started gaining traction, the big companies have started providing there existing users with an OpenID which they can use with other sites but most of these companies have yet to start accepting OpenID's as a logging option on there site.

Around Christmas time I enabled OpenID logins on my company site a star solutions, the implementation is fairly straightforward and I believe it has been implemented in a reasonable way, the only problem I encountered and still have a problem with is Yahoo's logins which don't seem to work with the JanRain OpenID library I am using, I am sure the library does work but I have yet to get it working properly.

On the surface OpenID seems like a perfect solution but there are critics of the service, I recently came across a blog post by a guy called Kyle Neath, he makes some interesting points, some I agree with some I don't. For example he points out that if your OpenID provider decides to shut down you locked out of multiple services, this is easily overcome by using a large reputable company which provides OpenID's such as Yahoo! Two of his points seem to relate to the unfriendliness of the whole OpenID implementation and I agree with this, when using an OpenID you get redirected around and moved to different sites, for an average web user this is going to be confusing as they wont know whats going on, despite this its not a reason not to use the service. A company called ClickPass has attempted to solve this problem by hiding the redirects in the background, the process is a lot easier and smoother for the user but it does rely on websites implementing this service as well as implementing OpenID.

Over the next few months/years I hope to see more sites starting to use OpenID, hopefully we will eventually reach the point when we only have the one login for all the various sites and services out there.