Yahoo Inc. has announced its support for the OpenID 2.0 digital identity framework for all 248 million active registered Yahoo! users worldwide. OpenID, an open framework based on proven Internet technologies, enables users to consolidate their Internet identity, eliminating the need to create separate IDs and logins at all of the various websites, blogs, and profile pages they may visit in the course of their online session. In addition to the many leading Yahoo! services users already enjoy, anyone with a Yahoo! ID will be able to use the same ID for easy access to any sites that support OpenID 2.0.
Yahoo!’s initial OpenID service, which will be available in public beta on January 30, enables a seamless and transparent web experience by allowing users to use their custom OpenID identifier on me.yahoo.com or to simply type in “www.yahoo.com” or “www.flickr.com” on any site that supports OpenID 2.0. Alternatively, web sites that accept OpenID 2.0 will be able to add a simple “Sign-in with Your Yahoo! ID” button to their login pages that will make it even easier for their users. Yahoo! is working with several partners, including Plaxo and JanRain, to make it possible for users to access these sites with their Yahoo! ID from the first day of the public beta.
“A Yahoo! ID is one of the most recognizable and useful accounts to have on the Internet and with our support of OpenID, it will become even more powerful,” said Ash Patel, executive vice president of platforms and infrastructure at Yahoo!. “Supporting OpenID gives our users the freedom to leverage their Yahoo! ID both on and off the Yahoo! network, reducing the number of usernames and passwords they need to remember and offering a single, trusted partner for managing their online identity.”
“Yahoo!’s commitment to an open web is a significant validation of the OpenID movement and Yahoo!’s adoption of the standard today immediately triples the total number of people able to use OpenID,” said Scott Kveton, chairman of the Board of Directors for the OpenID Foundation. “With Yahoo! actively engaged with the OpenID Foundation and its community to promote OpenID, Yahoo!’s users will be able to more easily access the many sites across the web that support the standard, and the potential for access to Yahoo!’s vast international user base will create an even more powerful incentive for additional websites to begin accepting OpenID users.”
Yahoo!’s implementation is based on the OpenID 2.0 specification, which Yahoo! worked closely with the OpenID foundation and community to finalize in December 2007, and includes new features that improve security and usability of OpenID, making it the most user-friendly single sign-on and online user-authentication standard. Yahoo! users who log in with their Yahoo! ID on OpenID sites will have the added protection of Yahoo!’s sign-in seal wherever they go on the web. In addition, no email or IM addresses are revealed or disclosed as part of the login process, which further helps protect users from phishing or other attacks.
“Plaxo believes that users should be able to carry their identity and personal information with them wherever they go across the social web,” said Joseph Smarr, chief platform architect of Plaxo. “Yahoo! is making that vision a reality by becoming an OpenID provider. Yahoo! users will be able to easily access Plaxo and other services without having to create and remember yet another password. This also paves the way for a secure approach to data portability between the various services people use across the web.”
“At JanRain, we believe the evolution of the Internet and the next generation of web applications hinges on universal adoption of a secure, portable digital identity,” said Larry Drebes, founder and vice president of engineering for JanRain. “JanRain is a leader in OpenID libraries, tools and applications, and has worked closely with Yahoo! to integrate its new OpenID offering into our services. The addition of 248 million Yahoo! users to the OpenID ecosystem will be a tremendous milestone in expanding the user base for OpenID.”
Yahoo! will continue to devote resources to helping to improve the OpenID user experience and to educating its users. In addition, Yahoo! intends to expand its support of OpenID by adopting other elements of the program as the service evolves.