Tag: OpenID

ConfIdent people are attractive, especially when it comes to OpenID

And more OpenID news is rolling off the presses here in the Rose City. Portland-based ConfIdent Technologies, the new spinoff from recent Portland-transplant Vidoop, has announced partnership deals with ClaimID, Clickpass, and ooTao for its RecognitionAUTHâ„¢ technology, a patented system that does away with traditional passwords in favor of managing security credentials with images.

In related news, Vidoop has announced that the new JanRain OpenID ID Selector will be incorporated into the Vidoop affiliate program.

The ConfIdent announcements are important for a number of reasons.

First, partnerships of this nature continue to introduce concepts and technologies that hold the promise of moving OpenID from the realm of “cutting-edge technology types” to “everyday Web surfer.”

Second—and perhaps more importantly—it is a major step forward in security that is both more rigorous and yet, at the same time, easier to manage for both users and adopters. With ConfIdent’s system protecting the identity of the OpenID holder, stealing OpenID identities just became a great deal more arduous—if not nearly impossible.

And third, this kind of news is just another reminder that Portland is well on its way to becoming an OpenID powerhouse—if not a full-fledged tech hub. Lest we forget that, today, as two major OpenID announcements dropped, the Vice-Chair of the OpenID Foundation was in town for a lunch at Huber’s with the Chair of the OpenID Foundation and a variety of other folks from the community.

That’s a lot of OpenID activity for one day.

And other Portlanders, like Marshall Kirkpatrick (who also happens to be the fifth most influential tech blogger around), are beginning to make note of the trend:

Already the home of the inventor of the wiki (Ward Cunningham), the initiator of the Linux kernel (Linus Torvalds), a boatload of RSS and OpenSource-heads, Portland Oregon is also becoming a hotbed of OpenID work.

Here’s hoping that trend continues. (I’ve already done my part, by finally repairing the OpenID login for Silicon Florist comments.)

For more information on the partnership announcement, read the ConfIdent Technologies release. For more on the technology behind ConfIdent, read up on RecognitionAUTH.

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.

Reminder: Meet OpenID developer David Recordon

If you’re like me, you’re a huge fan of the potential of OpenID. (Even though my current implementation continues to malfunction here on Silicon Florist. And that’s my fault, not OpenID.)

And while we get to chat with Scott Kveton, the Vidoop (and now ConfIdent) guys, and the JanRain folks on a regular basis, sometimes it’s nice to get to hear from some of the other leading voices in OpenID development.

That’s why I’m really excited for lunch on Monday with one of the original OpenID developers, David Recordon.

David currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the OpenID Foundation and works as the Open Platforms Tech Lead at SixApart. You may also remember him as a collaborator and editor of Brad Fitzpatrick’s “Thoughts on the Social Graph.”

And to keep this all on the up-and-up as far as Silicon Florist goes, Recordon has Portland ties, as well, having graduated from Catlin Gabel.

If you’ve got time on Monday, come on down to Huber’s for lunch to meet David, Kveton, and a number of other OpenID-o-philes. RSVPs are appreciated so that Huber’s has an idea of how many to expect.

For more information or to RSVP, see A Great Portland Geek Lunch on Upcoming.

Beyond the Forest: OpenID and the bigs, all hat and no cattle

It’s no surprise that Portland is rapidly becoming one of the de facto hubs for OpenID evangelism and development.

Scott Kveton, the chairman of the OpenID Foundation now calls Portland home. Portland-based JanRain is a leading force in the OpenID development effort and new Portland-transplant Vidoop is also coming on strong. If Beer and Blog is any indication, we’re all interested in getting more use out of OpenID on our blogs. And having the opportunity to sit down with David Recordon, the vice chair of the OpenID Foundation, is something that’s appealing to quite a number of us.

And while the big companies that we often encounter one way or another—Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and AOL—have all claimed to jump into the OpenID pool, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch is beginning to wonder if this isn’t all a bunch of OpenID lip service. Or to put it bluntly: Are the bigs all hat and no cattle?

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.

Geek Lunch with David Recordon, OpenID evangelist

OpenIDOpenID aficionados rejoice. I just got word that David Recordon, one of the leading forces behind OpenID development and vice-chair of the OpenID Foundation, will be making a trip to Portland in April.

That’s great news.

Even better news? He’s extending his trip to make time for a Great Portland Geek Lunch on Monday, April 21.

Details are still slim until we get an idea of the number of folks interested in attending. So, if you’d like the chance to meet Recordon and some of the other OpenID-oriented folks in Portland, please RSVP for the Geek Lunch on Upcoming.

I’ll make sure to keep everyone posted as things solidify.

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