OpenID allows you to use an existing account to sign in to multiple websites, without needing to create new passwords.
You may choose to associate information with your OpenID that can be shared with the websites you visit, such as a name or email address. With OpenID, you control how much of that information is shared with the websites you visit.
With OpenID, your password is only given to your identity provider, and that provider then confirms your identity to the websites you visit. Other than your provider, no website ever sees your password, so you don’t need to worry about an unscrupulous or insecure website compromising your identity.
OpenID is rapidly gaining adoption on the web, with over one billion OpenID enabled user accounts and over 50,000 websites accepting OpenID for logins. Several large organizations either issue or accept OpenIDs, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL, MySpace, Sears, Universal Music Group, France Telecom, Novell, Sun, Telecom Italia, and many more.
Who Owns or Controls OpenID?
OpenID was created in the summer of 2005 by an open source community trying to solve a problem that was not easily solved by other existing identity technologies. As such, OpenID is decentralized and not owned by anyone, nor should it be. Today, anyone can choose to use an OpenID or become an OpenID Provider for free without having to register or be approved by any organization.
The OpenID Foundation was formed to assist the open source model by providing a legal entity to be the steward for the community by providing needed infrastructure and generally helping to promote and support expanded adoption of OpenID.
OpenID is the fast, easy and secure way to sign in to websites. Here are just a few benefits to using OpenID.
Accelerate Sign Up Process at Your Favorite Websites
Most websites ask for an extended, repetitive amount of information in order to use their application. OpenID accelerates that process by allowing you to sign in to websites with a single click. Basic profile information (such as your name, birth date and location) can be stored through your OpenID and used to pre-populate registration forms, so you spend more time engaging with a website and less time filling out registration pages.
Reduce Frustration Associated with Maintaining Multiple Usernames and Passwords
Most web users struggle to remember the multiple username and password combinations required to sign in to each of their favorite websites, and the password recovery process can be tedious. But using the same password at each of your favorite websites poses a security risk. With OpenID, you can use a single, existing account (from providers like Google, Yahoo, AOL or your own blog) to sign in to thousands of websites without ever needing to create another username and password. OpenID is the safer and easier method to joining new sites.
Gain Greater Control Over Your Online Identity
OpenID is a decentralized standard, meaning it is not controlled by any one website or service provider. You control how much personal information you choose to share with websites that accept OpenIDs, and multiple OpenIDs can be used for different websites or purposes. If your email (Google, Yahoo, AOL), photo stream (Flickr) or blog (Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal) serves as your primary online presence, OpenID allows you to use that portable identity across the web.
Minimize Password Security Risks
Many web users deploy the same password across multiple websites. And since traditional passwords are not centrally administered, if a security compromise occurs at any website you use, a hacker could gain access to your password across multiple sites. With OpenID, passwords are never shared with any websites, and if a compromise does occur, you can simply change the password for your OpenID, thus immediately preventing a hacker from gaining access to your accounts at any websites you visit.
Because the focus of most OpenID providers (such as Google, Yahoo and AOL) is in identity management, they can be more thorough about protecting your online identity. Most website operators are less likely to be as dedicated to protecting your identity as the OpenID providers, whose focus is on securely hosting user identities.