Portland-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.
Last week, after reading Aaron Hockley’s call to implement OpenID, it got me to thinking: How many sites in Portland—arguably the de facto leader in OpenID development—and the Silicon Forest have actually implemented OpenID?
Well, thanks to Kevin Fox at Vidoop/ConfIdent and a number of other folks chiming in, we were able to gather the following list of 23 30+ velvet ropes behind which your OpenID will let you.
(NOTE: The list is by no means exhaustive. So if your site is missing, please comment, and I’ll add it.)
“We connect businesses and websites with each other and their customers using a wiki-based resource of millions of editable pages of information.”
“Find a green place to live or work. Discover green buildings in your neighborhood. Get recognized for your sustainability efforts.”
“ICANNWiki is a wiki whose goal is to create a free, valuable and ‘community’ neutral, global Internet resource containing information for all aspects of the ICANN ‘community.'”
“Claim anything! Yes, anything. If you have something to say, then make a claim and let the community vote on it. Make claims about yourself, friends, and family. Put your stake in the ground and see where the votes go.”
“It’s your career. You need to take responsibility for it. That’s why we built Kumquat. To help make it easier to get the feedback you deserve. Whenever and however often you want it.”
“Pibb combines the best features of instant messenger, chat, email, and bulletin boards.”
Portland Small Business
“PortlandSmallBusiness.com is a collaborative website, where members of the Portland small business community can go for peer advice and networking.”
Portland Web Innovators
“Portland Web Innovators is a technology-agnostic group where you can meet like-minded web people without the excuse of a networking-only event.”
“WTF is Treasurelicious? It’s a widget to show off what you treasure.”
“Using Twitter followers, Tweetpeek is designed to help anyone build a pulse-of-anything widget in a few easy steps.”
“So what is twurl designed to do? Well, at the very most basic level, twurl is a URL shortener that allows you to track clicks.”
“Velog is a simple place to log your bicycle rides and connect with others in the cycling community.”
Bonus: Any Marshall Kirkpatrick post on ReadWriteWeb (You can actually use it for any comment, but I had to find a Silicon Forest hook.)
Need an OpenID?
If you haven’t had a chance to use your OpenID (it’s highly likely that you already have one) or aren’t quite sure how to get started, you might want to visit Portland’s own myVidoop or MyOpenID to get going. A few short steps and you’ll have access to all of the sites above.
The problem, though, is that the Big Four Internet companies that I mentioned above have made big press announcements about their support for OpenID, but haven’t done enough to actually implement it. Microsoft has done absolutely nothing, even though Bill Gates announced their support over a year ago. Google has limited its support to Blogger, where it is both an Issuing and Relying party. Yahoo and AOL are Issuing parties only.
This is a tenuous position at best. For as much ground as we can cover from a grassroots perspective, it’s going to be exceedingly difficult to get anyone—beyond early adopters—to take on OpenID without the support of some of these bigger entities.
Without the bigs, there is no OpenID tipping point.
But the funny thing—not funny “ha ha,” but funny “sad”—is that all of these gigantic companies are struggling with one very similar issue that would be partially—if not completely—solved by an effective implementation of OpenID: bringing acquisitions under a common login credential.
Yahoo! throws its acquirees’ respective user bases into turmoil every time it asks them to move over to a Yahoo! ID. Google takes years in its struggles to get everyone on the Google credential system. Microsoft and AOL are no different.
To me, it seems obvious that OpenID could solve this issue, now and for the foreseeable future. And I can’t be the only one seeing that.
As hard as it may be for them to accept it, the bigs need to move away from their proprietary credentialing structures. They need to embrace concepts like OpenID and OAuth for what they can do to solve their problems, today.
In short, they need to let go and let OpenID.
For now, the jury is still out on when and how the big company momentum will fall behind OpenID in terms of something more than spin and lip service. But let’s hope that day is soon approaching. For all of our sakes.
I can tell you one thing: from a grassroots level, Portland is sure to be leading the charge. And we’re not going to slowing our OpenID fandom anytime soon.
Portland-based JanRain—a company that started as an OpenID play and has since morphed into the way to simplify distributed Web logins across the board—announced that they had closed Series A financing to the tune $3.25 million. The round was led by DFJ Frontier. Especially considering this round has been rumored to be in the works since this summer.
Via the Attensa blog “Marshall Kirkpatrick has stirred things up for RSS followers with his post R.I.P Enterprise RSS on Read Write Web. As I write this, there have been 70 comments covering a range of viewpoints. Marshall’s post is one of several recent perspectives relating to what is commonly called ‘enterprise RSS.’ The crux of Marshall’s observation is that RSS has not been widely adopted by large organizations despite expectations a couple of years ago that RSS would be come a key enterprise tool.”
Via the AboutUs blog “RCC is about openness and inclusion, collaboration and community, creativity and flow and is open to anyone of any skill set that’s interested in wiki, open collaboration, public participation and free culture. You’re welcome to come for any or all of the three days. Notable wiki enthusiasts as well as other OpenTechnology and OpenCulture people will be in attendance.”
Via the Shizzow blog “We thought it would be fun to do some trick or treating using Shizzow. Since we’re too old to wander the neighborhoods knocking on doors for free candy, we decided to have our own trick or treat party (costumes are optional). Here’s how it works…”
Chris Messina writes “Monday last week marked the first ever OpenID UX Summit at Yahoo! in Sunnyvale with over 40 in attendance. Representatives came from MySpace, Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Vidoop, Janrain, Six Apart, AOL, Chimp, Magnolia, Microsoft, Plaxo, Netmesh, Internet 2 and Liberty Alliance to debate and discuss how best to make implementations of the protocol easier to use and more familiar.”
Many know Portland-based Vidoop—yes, they DO have a new look—as purveyor of OpenID provider myVidoop and home to the DiSo Project, “an umbrella project for a group of open source implementations of distributed social networking concepts.”
But Vidoop also has a number of revenue generating tricks in its bag, from the advertising that comprises its ImageShield to the enhanced security products that it sells.
Today at Finovate, Vidoop launched a new suite of those security products targeted at financial institutions, healthcare organizations, and corporations. And for banks in particular, Vidoop highlights that they offer “three options for providing strong authentication for accessing Web sites.”
The announcement appears to be striking a chord. According to Banktastic, “Your bank or credit union NEEDS to look into this.”
Of course, the real magic of Vidoop’s easy to implement, tough to defeat, advertising-supported security is that it not only reduces implementation and maintenance costs, it actually provides another way for businesses to generate revenue.
The ImageShield provides advertisers the opportunity to sponsor images within certain categories. Customers who choose to enable advertising-supported logins can obtain Vidoop’s increased security at little or no cost, and in some cases, generate revenue through the sponsored images.
“Not only can financial institutions potentially make money using Vidoop, but they can also realize substantial savings through customer service,” said Mitch Savage, Vidoop’s Executive Vice President, Business Development. “The number one call to most customer support centers is login issues. Vidoop provides an easier way for users to remember passwords with images, and now we have two additional ways they can authenticate without requiring expensive call center support.”
Via the Vidoop blog “Over the coming months, Vidoop will be delivering new services that not only take advantage of these new specifications but also make them easy for users and companies to use. The reality is users shouldn’t need to know about these technologies but they will be the underpinnings of the Open Web.”
Bram Pitoyo writes “I always thought that ‘Creative’ and ‘Tech’ were two different worlds: two landmasses that somehow needs to be bridged. I wrote about it. I talked about it to friends and people I met at various events: about how I wanted to ‘make creatives more open by introducing them to the vibrant, local tech community.’ It’s all good. But I was completely wrong.”
OPB Think Out Loud will be broadcasting live from OSCON. The premise? “Portland isn’t necessarily the capital of this revolution — one of the hallmarks of such a decentralized system is that the whole concept of a capital is anathema — but it’s certainly one of the most prominent nodes of community. Some people have argued that the aspects of Portland’s culture that make it such an ideal location for open source activity (i.e. a creative, collaborative, non-commercial mindset, speaking in broad generalizations) have also meant that fewer local OSS (Open Source Software) projects become commercially viable.”
Doug Coleman writes “I am excited to announce that iPhone DevCamp 2 PDX has an new venue! Thanks to Jim Goings and the wonderful people at Jive Software, iPhone DevCamp 2 PDX will be held August 2nd and 3rd at Jive’s Stark St. offices in Downtown Portland.”
Chris Messina writes “During this morning’s keynote at OSCON, David Recordon announced the formation of the Open Web Foundation (his slides), an initiative with which I am involved, aimed at becoming something akin to a ‘Creative Commons for patents’, with the intention of lowering the costs and barriers to the development and adoption of open and free specifications like OpenID and OAuth.”
Jay Lyman writes “Now OSCON is at the Portland Convention Center, and while the conference has a different feel, it is still the most unique tech conference with its developer focus, sandals and lack of ties. So while I still enjoy being able to wear shorts to a show and briefings, there have been some significant changes to OSCON in addition to the location move.”
Justin Kistner writes “Welcome OSCON attendees to the land of beer and honey known around the world as Portland. We’d like to invite all of you to enjoy a pint of delicious beer with us on Friday from 4-6 pm. Beer and Blog is Portland’s tech scene happy hour of choice and we usually help each other with our blogs. At least that’s what I keep repeating.”
The Open Web Foundation is an interesting step in the ever evolving world of technology “openness.” What started with open source code and moved to open data has now evolved to the open Web.
And that’s an important step.
What is the Open Web Foundation?
According to the Open Web Foundation site:
The Open Web Foundation is an attempt to create a home for community-driven specifications. Following the open source model similar to the Apache Software Foundation, the foundation is aimed at building a lightweight framework to help communities deal with the legal requirements necessary to create successful and widely adopted specification.
Take a moment to read that again. Because within that charge lies a very important distinction. A distinction that differentiates the Open Web Foundation from other organizations playing in this space: the Open Web Foundation is focused on the specifications that facilitate the sharing and transmission of data.
Not the data itself, the specifications.
“The Open Web Foundation is not a standards body,” said Scott Kveton. “The W3C, OASIS and others do that fantastically today. This is about helping speed the development and proliferation of open specifications so we can figure out if they make sense or not.”
My take? For the Open Web Foundation, it is more critical to understand and support how the data is being exchanged and how we build open systems that are interoperable. Because without interoperability and the ability to share, all the data in the world is useless.
So what organizations belong to this foundation? Well, you’ve hit upon another important difference. You see, the Open Web Foundation is an organization of individuals. The following folks are currently part of the foundation, but it’s a list that—obviously—is continuing to grow:
And as a foundation of individuals, the Open Web Foundation is open to you, as well. Simply join the Open Web Foundation Google Group to begin discussions with the organization and determine how you would like to participate.
But just because it’s an organization of individuals, that doesn’t mean it lacks community support by major players.
We truly are in an inflection point when it comes to the future of the web. Today I’m wearing my “I support the Open Web” wristband which Mozilla gave away at OSCON last year. So what are you doing to support the Open Web and bring about change?
A long running problem in messaging and consistency from advocates of both open source and standards has been the duplicate and overlapping efforts. The best recent example was the split within the RSS camp that resulted in a new Atom syndication format, which in the long-term did not manage to displace RSS and instead divided evangelism efforts. While a similar split along technology lines does not exist in the case of the new Open Data [sic] Foundation and the Data Portability project, it would seem that a more united and single-branded front would be more appropriate considering the shared agenda of both camps.
Hopefully, today’s announcement and the resulting coverage will help clear up the story and clarify the focus and intent of this new group.
The Open Web Foundation is positioning itself as a complimentary organization. DataPortability.org can handle the evangelism and the Open Web Foundation will do the behind the scenes work to help developers bring code to market. Not completely behind the scenes, but you know what they mean.
The OWF is not trying to compete with existing standards bodies (IETF, W3C, OASIS, etc.). The communities we’re working with are currently coming together in a very ad-hoc fashion, and if we can help them have clean intellectual property, it makes it easier for a community to take their open specification to a standards body.
And that sounds eerily similar to another organization with whom Dawn is deeply involved, Portland’s Legion of Tech.
Is the Open Web Foundation a competitor of the Data Portability project? In terms of mindshare? Absolutely. In terms of technology? Not really. Is that competition a bad thing? Not at all.
I’ve said it time and time again, competition—either real or perceived—defines a market. If you’re in a situation where you have no competition, you’re either so far ahead of the curve that no one can perceive the value you provide (and you may not survive long enough for anyone to catch up to your line of thinking) or you’re doing something in which no one will ever see any value.
Either way, a market without competition isn’t a market.
So as divisive as it seems right now, a little competition is a very good thing. Because it will push people to get things done. It will motivate people to keep things moving. It will force organizations to more tightly define their charters and to more stringently follow their own guidelines.
And—perhaps most importantly—it will give everyone a choice of where to spend their time and energy.
A monopoly doesn’t help anyone.
Okay, so what does the Open Web Foundation mean to me?
First and foremost, the Open Web Foundation will become the facilitator of open specifications. An umbrella resource that helps manage the continuing development of open specs and a means of ensuring consistency and compatibility among the variety of technologies currently in play.
As a developer, this means you gain a trusted resource—a partner in helping develop the open Web.
“We’re trying to create a nonprofit organization that will help these organizations work together,” said Recordon. “We need simplicity in these specifications.”
The thought? Instead of people having to create innumerable organizations to manage and support individual efforts, let’s just create one. One that supports all of the different projects.
The foundation is trying to break the trend of creating separate foundations for each specification, coming out of the realization that we could come together and generalize our efforts. The details regarding membership, governance, sponsorship, and intellectual property rights will be posted for public review and feedback in the following weeks.
No doubt, this foundation will have an effect on many efforts around the Silicon Forest. And with the Portland efforts around OpenID—and locals Dawn Foster and Scott Kveton among the founding individuals—the Open Web Foundation is sure to be part of our existence.
I, for one, am looking forward to the Open Web, and I applaud these folks taking this step forward.