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OpenID: The Internet Login Problem Solved

March 31, 2010

For years, I’ve been frustrated with the fact that I have so many login identities and passwords for literally hundreds of web sites. Of course, I’m certainly not alone in that respect, as just about everybody has way more logins than they can deal with. The problem has been so bad that I laugh when I read a notice on a web site that says to make your password secure, using mixed-case and special characters. Say, something like this: rS3YC%e@6. Oh, and don’t write it down, is the advice given. Memorize it. And don’t use the same password on two sites. Yeah, right. Nobody can do that. Perhaps a person can manage to do that with one or a very few passwords, but not hundreds of passwords.

That is why I am so delighted to see OpenID taking off. For those who do not know, OpenID solves this problem by giving users a single user identity and password that they can use to access all of their OpenID-enabled web sites. Right now, sites like Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, WordPress, Google, Yahoo!, and many more sites have support for OpenID. We even have OpenID support for Packetizer Forums, so you don’t have to keep up with a separate ID to discuss stuff about VoIP, videoconferencing, or cloud computing.

One of the really cool features of OpenID that is not fully appreciated is the fact that it is possible for you to log in once and never have to log in again. You can roam around from site to site and be automatically logged in. Perhaps you might have to provide your user ID, but you don’t have to provide your password if your identity provider supports the right features in OpenID. With the OpenID software we use on Packetizer, you can indicate when you log in the first time whether you want to be prompted for a password again or not.

Anyway, I’m excited since more and more web sites are adding support for OpenID. This makes using the Internet so much more enjoyable.

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