Menu

Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

OpenID may very well belong in the browser

December 2, 2008

David Recordon, who is the Open Platforms Lead Tech at Six Apart, has written one of the most insightful and interesting ideas for the adoption of OpenID I’ve seen in awhile.

David suggests that your identity belongs in the browser. It is already in there anyway. For any of us that browse, for the most part, from the same computer every single day – we take advantage of the browser’s ability to save our login information for tons of Web sites into its own data store. Or, sometimes (like with Mac OS X) into the system’s secure data store.

Either way, its there. Easy. You go to a site – it prefills the data you need to login, off you go. But what if the browser only needed to record one bit of information rather than all of these separate bits per site? Who you are. In the world of OpenID who you are is represented by an URL.

By the way, Hi, I’m http://cdevroe.com/ – Nice to meet you.

If the browser held that information, rather than the surfer needing to understand what that actually means – imagine the┬ápossibilities! Imagine this; you go to a Web site, Web site wants you to create an account, browser knows this, you just hit “Yes, I’ll have an account here at XYZ.com” and poof, you have an account. You don’t have a new username and password (though I’m sure said service will allow you to create a handle there, but you won’t need to remember that to log in again). Every single site on the Web would grow faster because of this. For better or worse.

I had the privilege of speaking to David last week on the phone about a matter having nothing to do with OpenID but I can say that from speaking with him that I enjoy his style of explaining things. It is simple and real. Others in the OpenID world are either extremely long winded or, and maybe this is just me being unwilling to sit through the boring lecture about things that do not interest me, they just seem to never get off their horse to talk to the people here on the ground.  David does not do this. He shows real examples, explains them in ways I can understand (and so could my Mom probably), and wraps it up in a post that even I have the attention span to read through.

Regardless of where this discussion goes – I like the idea, and I like that it will now be talked about.