Windows Live Uses OpenID for Login OpenID has gotten a big lift this week with two big announcements coming from two very different camps. First, Microsoft has announced that Windows Live will officially support OpenID for login and that users will be able to log into any OpenID site with their LiveID account. Second, Google has announced that it will also be a provider of OpenIDs.

What is OpenID Again?

OpenID is fast becoming the default standard for user authentication across the Internet. By supporting a standard authentication protocol like OpenID, vendors like Microsoft and Google are helping to simplify the online experience. Soon we won't have to maintain dozens of user accounts for all our web sites and social media sites.

Microsoft Supports OpenID

This week, Microsoft announced the Windows Live ID OpenID Provider (OP). Live ID is Microsoft's standard authentication protocol. Soon anyone with a Live ID account will be able to set up an OpenID alias and use it for identification at any website that supports OpenID. Microsoft has stated that they will support the OpenID 2.0 protocol. Currently, the Windows Live ID OP is only available as a CTP release in the Windows Live ID Integration environment. This environment, as you already know, is a testing environment for websites and developers to ensure their sites and libraries are will work. Microsoft expects to release their OpenID provider in 2009.

Google Supports OpenID

Also announced this week, Google will become a provider of OpenID. Also supporting the OpenID 2.0 protocol, Google has provided limited access to their API for an OpenID identity provider. They say their provider is based on the user experience research from the OpenID community. Users with Google accounts will able to log into other websites using that account -- if the website supports the OpenID protocol. Zoho.com is an example of this capability. Google will also enable a user to manage all their accounts in a single location.

Is This True OpenID Support?

Every seems anxious to support to the OpenID Protocol. But not everyone is happy about how some vendors are approaching their support. Google's support of OpenID doesn't work exactly the way it should. They are a provider of OpenID, but don't support users with OpenID accounts to enter their own websites and applications using their OpenID accounts. However, Google says this will come in time. Google's OpenID process
Google's OpenID process

The Future is Open

The OpenID organization has began the 60 day public review of the OpenID Provider Authentication Policy Extension (PAPE) Draft 7 as the OpenID Specification. The review period ends December 21, 2008. You can get links to the specification on their website. Yahoo signed up to OpenID back in January. A move that likely spurred the others to faster action. The fact that Microsoft is moving ever slowly towards support of open standards is clearly being demonstrated with this announcement. Seems kind of scary to think that soon we will be able to move seamlessly between Microsoft, Yahoo and Google websites and applications. Nice, but scary.