While I like OpenID as a concept, I think it has been a bit too technical for the average user. Not that it is very hard to understand or use, but rather clunky and more of a hassle than something that truly helps out. There just wasn’t incentive enough for the user.
No more, potentially at least, because now Facebook is an OpenID relying partner. That means that you can use your Gmail account to login to Facebook, once you have authenticated it, and that in turn means that when you’re logged in to Facebook you’re also logged in to every site using Facebook Connect.
That could be your blog.
First things first, link your Facebook account to an OpenID provider. Not all will let you login automatically, and the Inside Facebook interview with Luke Shepard is focusing on Google accounts. And sure, like so many others, I log onto Gmail every morning, and now that will go for Facebook as well. At least, it will after I’ve visited my Account Settings and added Google as a linked service.
We’re a major identity provider with the Facebook Platform and Facebook Connect. We’ve been trying to do a good job on this for apps, and this is a good chance for us to eat our own dogfood with identity and learn what we can do better for apps in the future.
There are very few sites that support the background automatic login in OpenID, but this is a core part of the Facebook Connect experience. Others havent done this yet because it’s pretty difficult technically. When designing our OpenID implementation, I was drawing on several Facebook engineers here to learn from how we did various things with Connect. It’s also still rapidly evolving.
Shepard also says that both Yahoo and Microsoft are on the verge of releasing their own solutions so that they too will work with Facebook and keep you logged in.
This is potentially great news for OpenID. Facebook is such a strong brand, and the fact that they’re getting behind it says a lot. Of course, their intentions were known, but this is the proof needed. Now let’s hope they can push this and make something huge out of the somewhat unholy trio of Facebook Connect, OpenID providers, and their massive userbase.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.