I was visiting a friend’s Livejournal blog and to leave a comment I needed an “OpenID”. But I have no idea what that is and where one registers for an Open ID. Does it cost money?
The OpenID project is a very interesting mechanism that’s designed to offer a single unified credential service that will let you log in and verify your identity with a wide variety of different services, rather than having to log in, create accounts, remember passwords, etc., for each of the many different systems you use today.
As the OpenID project explains:
“OpenID is still in the adoption phase and is becoming more and more popular, as large organizations like AOL, Microsoft, Sun, Novell, etc. begin to accept and provide OpenIDs. Today it is estimated that there are over 160-million OpenID enabled URIs with nearly ten-thousand sites supporting OpenID logins.”
In other words, it’s still being adopted, but in the meantime Livejournal is one of the sites that’s OpenID friendly.
What I found a bit confusing about OpenID is that there are OpenID servers and you have to pick one as your “credential store” so you can use the system. You’ll need to start by going to the get credentials page, which lists a remarkable number of sites that are already OpenID enabled, including AOL, Blogger, Flickr, LiveJournal, Technorati, Vox and Yahoo.
Since I already have a Yahoo ID, I’ll quickly go through most of the steps needed to turn that Yahoo ID into an OpenID. Start at Yahoo’s OpenID Project, where you’ll see this:
Click on “Get Started” and you’ll get to the next step, unsurprisingly enough:
Enter your password and click on “Sign In”, as you would normally to verify yourself on one of the many Yahoo sites, and now you’ll be asked to prove you’re human and agree to the Yahoo OpenID terms of service:
Since you will go and read the terms of service (don’t we all?) you can comfortably click on “I Agree” and proceed…
Let’s learn a bit more before we stop here, however. There’s one thing you can do with your OpenID application and that’s create what’s called a Sign-In Seal:
Personally, I haven’t done that yet, but keep scrolling down, because the OpenID Identifier is much more important on this page:
I have set up an OpenID URL that’s different from my standard Yahoo account ID, as you can see. Remember this URL as it’ what you’ll probably be entering when you’re on a site that requires OpenID credentials.
Problem is, it didn’t quite work when I tried it:
Is that annoying as heck? Oh yeah!
To sidestep it, you might consider using a third party OpenID credential storage service. The OpenID Project site lists four: ClaimID, MyOpenID, MyID.net, myVidoop.com and VeriSign’s Personal Identity Provider service.
Between them you can hopefully get your OpenID account working for you.