IT heavyweights join OpenID project

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IT heavyweights join OpenID project

Google, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign and Yahoo have become the first corporate board members of the OpenID Foundation, paving the way for an internet-wide single sign-on platform and an end to multiple passwords..

The OpenID Foundation was formed in June 2007 to support and promote technology developed by the OpenID community.

Early members included individuals, students, non-profits and start-ups coming together to develop and promote open identity management on the web.

OpenID is a free application that aims to simplify the online user experience by eliminating the need for multiple user names across websites.

The technology allows individuals to convert one existing digital identifier, such as a personal blog URL, into an OpenID account which then can be used as a log-in at any site supporting OpenID.

More than 10,000 websites currently support OpenID log-ins, and there are an estimated 350 million OpenID-enabled URLs.

"With support from these new company board members the OpenID Foundation will be able to continue to promote and protect the technology and its community," said Bill Washburn, executive director of the OpenID Foundation.

"The community has expanded quickly since the inception of the Foundation, and these companies will help bring OpenID into the mainstream markets."

Brad Fitzpatrick, a software engineer at Google, added: "Google shares the OpenID Foundation's vision of a web that is easy to use and built on open standards available to everyone.

"OpenID was always intended to be a decentralised sign-on system, so it is fantastic to join a foundation committed to keeping it free and unencumbered by proprietary extensions."

With the increased use of the internet for business, and the rise of online interaction such as social networking and user-generated content, innovative kinds of identifier technologies are necessary to sustain the "open web", the group said.
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