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Google To Announce Major Identity Initiative for 1 Million+ Companies and Schools July 10, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities.
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Google plans to announce in coming weeks that it is turning each of the one million plus Google Apps customer domains into an OpenID provider, enabling millions of people to log in to OpenID-supporting websites with their work, school or organization ID.

“For these organizations,” Google Security Product Manager, Eric Sachs, wrote on the public OpenID Board mailing list this morning, “Google Apps can now become an identity and data hub for multiple SaaS providers.” Sachs appeared to believe his email was not being posted to a public board; he asked that it not be circulated so that some unusual technical work could be completed and political support shored up in the face of likely community and press cynicism. There’s good reason for that – it may not be the good news it seems to be.

OpenID is important not just because it makes logging in to sites around the web easy, with one username and a secure password, but because it’s a way for people or organizations to maintain control over their own identities and data. There are no policy changes you don’t approve of when you’re in control.

Google’s Sachs explained in his email that in order to pull this all off, OpenID relying parties will need to be redirected from the domain provided at user login over to Google’s OpenID service. In order for this redirect to happen, all relying parties will need to start looking for a new OpenID extension that Google has developed and implemented in conjunction with one relying party technology, JanRain’s RPX.[…]

Caveat Emptor

Presuming that all the sites that let you log in with OpenID decide to play nice and look for Google’s redirect (to Google) then the idea of logging in to sites around the web with your favorite, secure account credentials (My Job, Powered By Google) could become far more common.

It might defeat the purpose of putting people in control over their own identities through distributed identity providers, because so many “OpenID” users would be coming back to Google, but the OpenID brand would no doubt benefit in the short term at least. And Google can do no evil, right?

In other words, this move by Google could kill the spirit of OpenID by drowning the letter of OpenID with support. We think we’re logging in to websites with our work or school ID, and OpenID lovers think we’re logging in with OpenID, but we’re actually logging in with a Google-controlled ID. All the heavy lifting would be done, Google would take care of the data storage and probably offer some neat value-added features. All the companies involved would have to do is hand online identity provisioning over to the company that they have already purchased email, calendaring and document sharing from. (“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety,” Ben Franklin once wrote, “deserve neither liberty nor safety.”)

At least it’s not Facebook!

So goes the wrestling of titans, on the very playing field created by champions of the free and independent little guy.

via Google To Announce Major Identity Initiative for 1 Million+ Companies and Schools.

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Comments»

1. Baker Kawesa - July 16, 2009

I must say that Google looks more and more like a budding Microsoft every new day, but hopefully they’ll remember to do no evil!

The OpenID frenzy is on and Google seems to be doing quite impressively in that regard.

OpenID backed by Yahoo, Google and the rest vs. Facebook connect, now that’s the fight to watch!


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