Industry giants join OpenID foundation

Demand from users for a simplified online experience and fewer passwords to remember have been given a boost as five major names in IT announced support for a common web authentication system.

Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM and VeriSign have all agreed to join the board of the OpenID foundation, a group that aims to provide and promote the OpenID single sign-on platform.

"The whole idea is to have this single identification," said Quocirca analyst Clive Longbottom, "I would have a single log-in which would allow me to sign on everywhere."

"For example, I would sign on at work and login as normal. When I went home I would still have the same ID but there would be a partition within that ID to say that I'm working and operating as a consumer.

"Using the OpenID I could go to my bank, use eBay etc. The big thing is that I don't have the different usernames or passwords that I'll have to remember or stick to the wall."

At the moment more than 10,000 web sites support OpenID log-ins and an estimated 350 million OpenID enabled log-ins exist.

"With OpenID the information has to be securely passed between all [the Foundation] members, using open standards. It needs the companies to all work together," Longbottom added.

Bill Washburn, the executive director of the OpenID Foundation said: "With support from the new board members, the OpenID Foundation will be able to promote and protect the technology and its community moving forward,"

"The community has clearly expanded since the inception of the Foundation and these companies will help bring OpenID into the market," he added.