Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Boost for easier web login plans

Typewriter, BBC
The move could mean less pounding of the keyboard to get at sites

A scheme to allow people to use one name and password on lots of different websites has got a boost from Google and Microsoft

The two tech giants have unveiled plans that will sign-up their users into the Open ID scheme.

The move means the scheme will soon be able to add more than 400 million users to the initiative.

The two firms join others, such as Yahoo and AOL, as backers of the single sign-on scheme.

One-way traffic

Open ID was dreamed up as a way to ease the mental and administrative burden of having a different login identity and password for almost every website.

The idea should mean that anyone with an Open ID identifier can use it to log in to, and use, any and every other site that has signed up to the scheme.

Microsoft and Google were early adopters of the scheme, and took seats on the board of the Open ID Foundation in 2007. However, both are only now releasing the tools and technology to work with the scheme.

On 28 October, Microsoft announced that it was starting technical trials that would lead to all the users of its Windows Live service being enrolled in Open ID in 2009.

The trials are for those running websites to see how Microsoft is working with the Open ID standards, and how to go about accepting that version as a login identifier.

Google has taken a similar route and announced plans to test its implementation of the Open ID technology. This will allow other websites to use logins for Gmail and other Google services alongside their own ID systems.

About 10,000 websites are thought now to accept Open ID as a login route. When both trials by Google and Microsoft are completed, more than 750 million user accounts will be enrolled in the system.

However, as critics have pointed out, much of the backing for Open ID is only one-way.

Other sites are being allowed to accept Google and Microsoft logins in place of their own, but the two tech giants are not reciprocating. At the moment the two are not accepting other Open ID credentials to login to their services.

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