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February 08, 2007

Microsoft backs OpenID

Bill Gates this week announced at the RSA conference that Microsoft will support OpenID. This is a major development in identity management, and marks the beginning of a serious effort to unite OpenID's distributed identity specification with the CardSpace system developed by Microsoft.

This is significant, as what OpenID brings to the table is a distributed, user-centric way of handling registration and sign-up on the web that suits a lot of Web2.0-style applications. What CardSpace brings is the seamless integration of that experience into the browser and operating system, and a single experience whether you assert your own identity with OpenID, or use credentials verified by third parties (such as federated identity schemes based around SAML).

And its not just for Vista users - CardSpace plugins are being developed for Mozilla and Safari, too.

A lot has been happening around OpenID recently, however I think this is a pivotal moment; I can see a whole lot serious take-up of both OpenID and CardSpace happening this year.

This is good news for Personal Learning Environments and ePortfolios, as it provides a mechanism to unite the identity and privacy processes used in both formal and informal learning systems, and enable activities and evidence across different kinds of context to be more easily connected by users.

More coverage of the annoucement can be found here, here, and here.

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