I have experimenting for the past few weeks with the OpenID platform. I love the concept in theory, one secure set of credentials to use on the web to avoid having 50 different log ins and passwords. OpenID avoids the typical holdup problems associated with these efforts by not centrally administering the credentials, but rather represents a group of standards that are then implemented by several providers. The other captive alternative to this involves signing up for a one-stop shop for web needs. Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are all vying for that title today. Facebook’s open API is another interesting twist on this space. Non-internet based password managers, like the Firefox password manager also solve this problem in a machine specific way.
A few weeks ago I signed up with Claim ID, and began attempting to use my credentials to work on a few websites. The first place I tried was at wordpress, an Open ID supporter, and the source of the template for my blog. After a few hours of frustration, I gave up and tried using my OpenID at a variety of other locations.
Long story short, I have yet to successfully use my OpenID in the real world. It either hangs up, claims the account doesn’t exist, or is not supported by the web-applications I like to use. I am sure this is all due to user error. But if I can’t figure this out, how is the target audience of people unable to keep up with their user names and passwords supposed to?