Category: JanRain

JanRain helps the other side of the OpenID (and OAuth) equation

JanRain RPXIt’s no secret that I fancy Portland the hub of OpenID development. And it’s days like today that I actually sound like I know about that which I am blabbering.

You see, today Portland-based JanRain, one of the old guard in terms of OpenID, unveiled a new service that has the potential to increase OpenID adoption.

How? By focusing not on those people holding an OpenID, but on those who want to allow people to use that OpenID—but simply can’t figure out how.

With this new software-as-a-service solution (that’s a lot of “s”s, isn’t it?), RPX, JanRain has the makings of a service that allows anyone to drop OpenID support—and OAuth support for that matter—into place on their site. Simply and easily.

With RPX you don’t need to become a security expert, a protocol expert, or play through a number of security and data flow problems, RPX handles all of this for you and delivers a simple payload in either JSON or XML.

In my mind, JanRain’s solution has a great deal in common with Will Norris’ brilliant OpenID plugin for WordPress, wp-openid. But for a much larger audience.

With RPX, JanRain has the opportunity to take that same kind of plug-and-play OpenID login concept to the larger Web—beyond blogs—to the companies who could greatly benefit from the technology.

And that’s very cool.

It’s also cool that they could be making some money off of subscription fees to deliver that service.

As an aside, I’m also happy to report that JanRain gains the distinction of being the first Portland company that I got to cover for ReadWriteWeb. And I can’t tell you how great it is to share the amazing tech scene here in Portland on that larger stage.

Well and speaking of that larger stage, JanRain also garnered coverage on a little tech blog of which you may have heard, TechCrunch.

Dare I say “YAY Portland!”? Indeed I do.

Still hungry for more OpenID news? Fear not, gentle reader. A little bird tells me that they’ll be some more cool OpenID stuff being released here in Portland within the next week or so.

Just you wait.

JanRain OpenID could be the key to your health (vault)

myOpenIDIn June, that little software company to the north of us, Microsoft, made news by allowing OpenID logins to its Microsoft Health Vault product.

Problem was—as TechCrunch noted—only two OpenID relying parties were allowed to play:

Over 16 months after first declaring its support for the OpenID authentication platform, Microsoft has finally implemented it for the first time, allowing for OpenID logins on its Health Vault medical site. Unfortunately, Health Vault will only support authentication from two OpenID providers: Trustbearer and Verisign. Whatever happened to the Open in OpenID?

But now, Microsoft has decided to increase the number of relying parties by 50%. To three.

So who was the lucky relying party who made it through the door? Portland-based JanRain‘s myOpenID.

A number of folks—me among them—are surprised it’s taken Microsoft this long to add another relying party. And it seems like the list is still missing a few other obvious and highly secure choices.

But myOpenID is a great place to start:

JanRain’s myOpenID service, the first and most popular independent OpenID service on the Internet, provides consumers with a free, fully featured, reliable, and secure solution for managing their personal online identity. Every myOpenID user receives several choices for secure authentication beyond password. These enhanced security options include: Microsoft InfoCard, Client Certificate, or Phone-based two factor authentication.

For more information on the personal health record service, visit Microsoft Health Vault. For more on JanRain and its OpenID solutions, visit JanRain or myOpenID.

REMINDER: Silicon Forest Forum tomorrow

Silicon Forest ForumJust a reminder that a bunch of local venture capital types, entrepreneurs, and other tech enthusiasts will be gathering at the Intel Jones Farm campus on Friday for the Silicon Forest Forum.

As I mentioned in a previous post and the Silicon Florist podcast, the co-founder of Tesla Motors will be the keynote. I’ll do my best to see if he’s willing to give a Tesla Roadster to each of the Friends of the Florist.

But I’m not guaranteeing anything.

I’ll be in attendance as part of my effort to continue the wacky week of Silicon Florist appearances at events. I had a great time at LivePitch Portland on Tuesday and was honored to moderate a phenomenal panel—Josh Bancroft, Dawn Foster, and Marshall Kirkpatrick—at the OEN PubTalk last night.

So what I am doing at the Silicon Forest Forum? More smiling and nodding, of course.

I’ll be moderating another all star panel entitled “Bloggers, Digital Media… and the Business of Creating Content.”

The panel will feature:

See? Smiling and nodding indeed. But at least it keeps a consistent theme to the week. That theme being “Great panel, but what is Rick doing up there?”

Sound interesting? I hear that there still a couple of seats left. So if you’d like to attend, swing by the Silicon Forest Forum site to register. And if you’re going to be there, please make sure to grab me and introduce yourself.

CallVerifID: Hi, it’s your OpenID account calling

CallVerifIDPortland-based JanRain, arguably the leading developer for OpenID solutions, is on a roll. It seems like they just released ID Selector, and now they’ve come forward with another OpenID solution: CallVerfID.

CallVerfID allows OpenID users who login with an *.myopenid.com identity to take an extra security precaution with their login: getting a phone call.

And here’s the best part: it’s on any phone. Well, okay, any phone with buttons.

Instantly receive a call when signing into myOpenID. Simply answer and press # to authenticate. No certificates or text messages. Use any phone.

My point was: it’s not SMS messaging. It’s an actual phone call.

I even tried it with Skype and it worked flawlessly.

Since I’m always one to try to shoehorn an analogy into any situation, I’d say that CallVerifID is akin to your credit card company calling you when a strange charge request is made. It’s simply an added precaution to ensure that your credentials are being used by you, and only you.

So, why the added precaution? Do I really want to get called every time I post a blog comment?

No, of course not. But as OpenID begins to take hold, and more and more personal and business applications become available, this type of multi-factor authentication is going to become necessary. Because, at some point, there’s going to be some fairly sensitive information and access rights tied to that OpenID. Banking, travel, and shopping just to name a few.

JanRain’s solution is quite simple and elegant. And it’s easy to adopt, no matter what your technical expertise. I, for one, think this is a step in the right direction.

For more, visit JanRain’s myOpenID to learn about CallVerifID.

OpenID ID Selector promises to make OpenID less geeky

This week, Portland-based JanRain will be unveiling their latest contribution to the OpenID community: a compelling means of simplifying OpenID logins for the everyday user called ID Selector. With ID Selector, JanRain has managed to reduce the complexity—and, well, geekiness—of the OpenID login process in the same way that products like AddThis have simplified the social-media-submission process.

JanRain OpenID ID Selector

Long story short, the ID Selector reduces your OpenID login to clicking an icon and providing a username. It’s a shrewd move, given that every OpenID provider has a standard structure for its URLs, a structure that allows JanRain to reduce the amount of user input to a traditional “username.”

JanRain has always done a great deal of the heavy lifting when it comes to working on OpenID and being open with the libraries they’ve developed. So they understand how to work for the greater good when implementing OpenID solutions.

Their take on the OpenID ID Selector is no different. It allows the folks who implement it to customize the providers that show and the order in which they are listed—even if that means JanRain’s MyOpenID doesn’t make the list.

This is yet another step forward for OpenID and its burgeoning user base. And, truly, one of the first ways I’ve seen that highlights to everyday Web users—millions of people who use services like AOL, Yahoo!, and Blogger—that they already have live OpenIDs which they could be using to manage services.

It’s great for users, but it could also mean some exciting developments for the companies who choose to become OpenID providers. Rafe Needleman of WebWare, for example, sees a simplified OpenID moving into the realm of loyalty programs:

Major sites, like portals, could still do a much better job pushing the OpenID concept. That would be good for them, not just because it’d make OpenID more accessible to users, but because there’s a lot of brand affinity that sites can win by having users authenticate against their sites even when they’re using some other company’s service. Think of OpenID branding as the affinity credit card of the Web: Every time a user logs on to a service they’d get the authenticator’s brand popped up in front of them — just like Harley-Davidson does when its Visa affinity card users make purchases.

JanRain, not surprisingly, gets this, and will provide a complete white-label OpenID technology infrastructure for companies or brands that want to become authenticators. So if you want to log on to Web sites with an ID from your alma mater or local Rotary club, JanRain will make that possible.

But we still have a ways to go, before we get there. Allen Stern of CenterNetworks is wondering if part of the problem might be the marketing of the “OpenID” name itself:

From my side, I am starting to believe that we don’t need to market the term ‘OpenID’ to consumers. No one cares about the technology, they only want to login to their favorite service using their AOL or Google id. It’s like TCP/IP, no one cares how it works, just that our email shows up in the inbox and Twitter loads when we want to tell our friends we just saw Britney at CVS.

Clearly, we’re not out of the geek forest yet. But JanRain is making significant strides to see that we’re on our way.

For more information, visit JanRain.

Silicon Forest and the Identity Management Working Group

Sometimes, I get pretty focused on OpenID-flavored identity management. But there are other startups in town working on a different type of identity management. The kind that involves your offline existence. (If there is a such a thing.)

The Santa Fe Group, a respected consultancy focusing on fraud reduction, has just announced the formation of its “Identity Management Working Group.” Among the group’s top concerns will be the growth of business identity theft, in which bogus entities use existing business names to compromise business accounts.

And the group has two Silicon Forest ties, one direct and one tangential.

First, the direct. Rick Kam of ID Safeguards, a Beaverton-based startup focusing on the identity fraud protection and compromised identity recovery, has been named the chair of the new organization.

“Collaboration is a critical component of curbing identity theft ,” said Kam. “This group will work together and with the industry at large to share knowledge that will find new and effective ways to protect us all.”

Second, the tangential. CheckFree, parent company of recently acquired Hillsboro-based startup Corillian, is also part of the working group.

Interesting news for the Silicon Forest, and perhaps the early rumblings of an opportunity.

What if all of the “identity” focused folks here in town got together and started working on this whole problem? I’m thinking these fraud protection folks, the Portland-based OpenID folks like JanRain, and the soon-to-have-a-Portland-office, rethinking-online-credentials Vidoop folks could have a pretty interesting conversation.

Portland Start-up Index: Is your site there?

Given that I’m still happily digging out from an avalanche of new Twitter followers, I’m a little tardy on reporting the news.

So, a number of folks were kind enough to send me links to TechvibesPortland Start-up Index,” a list of Portland-based startups ranked by averaging their Alexa and Compete ratings.

According to the post, they chose the Rose City because:

Portland’s unique culture, combined with its proximity to Seattle and Silicon Valley make it fertile ground for start-ups.

The list features an apples and oranges combination of both companies and products (which, quite honestly, isn’t immediately obvious to people who don’t obsess over monitor this stuff as actively as I do). So, companies with multiple products—but only one Web site—like Earth Class Mail (#5) (which unfortunately moved to Seattle to attract funding) and Kryptiq (#20) are mixed in with site-specific products like Matt King‘s Knitmap (#8) and JanRain‘s Pibb (#10).

SplashCast tops the list, with I Want Sandy and MyOpenID rounding out the top three.

Values of n garnered two spots on the index with I Want Sandy and Stikkit (#6). As did JanRain, with MyOpenID and Pibb.

Some notable sites conspicuously absent from the list include Jive Software, Platial, Unthirsty, and AboutUs. But commenters are already noting some of these exclusions.

Techvibes plans to update the list on a regular basis. And, I’m looking forward to seeing a few more of you folks on it, the next time around. Please comment on the post (as a number of folks already have) to ensure that your product or site is listed.

(Hat tip to Mike Berkley, Adam DuVander, and Ben Parzybok)

JanRain heralds the release of OpenID 2.0

Portland-based JanRain, arguably the most active proponent of the OpenID standard, has announced the release of, and support for, OpenID 2.0.

The latest version of OpenID assures its position as the dominant standard for next-generation digital identity. With new features that improve security and usability of OpenID, the user-centric single sign-on and online user-authentication standard is primed for mass adoption and widespread disruption across the Internet.

[Editor: For those of you who use the OpenID login for Silicon Florist comments, please do let me know if anything breaks, given these latest changes.]

JanRain is the driving force behind the adoption of OpenID services. Based in Portland, OR, the company has delivered the first comprehensive communications and reputation platform, Pibb, leveraging OpenID’s decentralized and user-centric identity. For more information, visit JanRain.

JanRain releases Pibb for Facebook

You may know Portland-based JanRain as one of the leading local proponents of OpenID. But you may not know that they also have a few applications under their collective belt.

One of those applications—their IRC-like Pibb application—has recently been ported to Facebook.

This communications conduit has the potential to be incredibly useful for those folks looking to tie Facebook communications to the rest of their online communications. (Like say for instance, keeping your Facebook comments and your blog comments all in one place.)

By adding the Pibb Facebook application to your account you can easily tie together two end points of your social graph, Facebook and Pibb. Once you add the application to your Facebook account, you will easily be able check for new messages and connect with your Facebook friends on Pibb and vice versa.

Sounds like a useful Facebook addition. (For a useless Facebook addition, feel free to join the Silicon Florist group on Facebook.)

For more information, see the blog post announcing the launch of Pibb on Facebook.

(As an aside, with both JanRain and SplashCast supporting Facebook applications, I’ve got to assume there are others of you out there building Facebook apps. Yes? No? Well, if you’ve got a Portland-built Facebook app, link it up, below, or drop me a note. If enough folks respond, I’ll post a roundup.)

OpenID 2.0 spec released

Portland-based JainRain has announced that the OpenID Authentication 2.0 Draft 12 is now available.

What’s this mean to you?

In the next month, we’d like to see implementers update their libraries or applications to be draft 12 compliant and perform interoperability testing. Once this period is over (October 1st), we should call the specification final, pending final IPR clearance from contributors. If we have IPR clearance by that point, we can call the spec final on October 1st.

Interested in participating? Have questions? Check out the OpenID channel on Pibb.

%d bloggers like this: