Identity Providers – the rest
When I first needed an OpenID identity provider (IDP) this was the service that I was pointed to (thanks @psd). From a security perspective there’s a lot to like, with options for SSL client certs, information cards and CallVerifID™. I haven’t used it for ages though, as the service I initially needed it for died, and most new things seem to work with Google and/or Twitter (stuff that I’m likely to be signed into already).
Yahoo! were one of the first big players to announce that they were becoming an OpenID IDP, which wasn’t much use at the time given that there were so few relying parties. I don’t personally use Yahoo! services all that much (with the exception of del.icio.us), and so I don’t pay it much attention. One issue is that the default identifiers are pretty ugly/scary (e.g. https://me.yahoo.com/a/mXMO4bEmxe76x8UaQwZTFo.rrGU-), but there is at least the option to get friendlier URIs (like https://me.yahoo.com/cp_swan).
Flickr is part of the larger Yahoo! system from an identity point of view, but I wanted to take this opportunity to point out the absurdity of some of the applications that I’ve recently tried to use with Flickr.
Err. NO THANKS. I can see why I might want some apps to do these things, but in some cases all I want to do is link profiles together. I don’t want to hand over the power to screw with my stuff, pretend that you’re me etc.
It’s also worth pointing out that such an authorisation screen would be much better if those ticks were check boxes, handing me some control over the situation.
I started with a Hotmail account, and for a while this became a Passport, but then plans for world domination seemed to be called off and as the service became MS only it went through the latest rebrand. Although OpenID support was announced some time ago it never seems to have made it out of a test environment. This therefore leaves Live as a necessary thing for signing into MS services like MSDN, but otherwise isolated from the rest of the identity ecosystem.
I mentioned these already, and I’ve been a fan since I first heard of CardSpace. What I liked was the effort that had gone into the user ritual to make hard PKI stuff seem simple at the point of consumption. Sadly it became clear a couple of years later that MS wasn’t even ‘dogfooding’ it (by making Information Cards an option for Live services), and I’ve seen no progress since, which is sad. Hopefully the identity selector will find its way into HTML5 sooner rather than later and all that great user experience work won’t have been for naught.
The blog platform that I’m writing this on is also an OpenID provider, and one that I frequently use when commenting on other people’s blogs. Hereabouts probably lies the seed of the ‘OpenID is only good for blog comments’ argument. Whilst OpenID is good for blog comments, and an OpenID provided by a blog platform is the right place to anchor comments, I think the space more broadly has moved on. These days I would prefer it if I could sign into WordPress with my Google ID, though I’d like them to sort out all that anchoring/persona stuff that I mentioned before (so that I can leave breadcrumbs back here rather than to my Google Profile, which is not where I live on the web).
I should also take this opportunity to have a quick moan about the WordPress account setup routine. If I want somebody to contribute to a blog (such as my firm’s corporate blog) then they need a WordPress.com account. To have an account they need to have a blog, but they may not want to set up an empty blog just to contribute to an existing blog – this causes (in the words of the Fat Controller) ‘confusion and delay’.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’m sure to have missed stuff out. I’m reasonably confident that I’ve covered the main services that I’ve found useful. What am I missing?
Filed under: blogging, could_do_better, identity | Leave a Comment
Tags: about.me, cardspace, federation, Flickr, google, Gravatar, identity, identity management, idm, information card, JanRain, Live, login, Microsoft, MyOpenID, OpenID, WordPress, WordPress.com, Yahoo!