March 11, 2008

Plaxo now supports clickpass for easier OpenID

clickpassFor users and developers that care about opening up the social web, one of the key building blocks for establishing a durable and portable online identity is OpenID. Recently the excitement and adoption of OpenID has skyrocketed, with Yahoo! providing OpenIDs for their entire userbase, Google’s Blogger both providing and consuming OpenIDs, and several large organizations joining the OpenID foundation. Coupled with the security and usability enhancements added to the OpenID 2.0 spec late last year, it seems that OpenID is really going mainstream.
With the great progress made on the technical (privacy and security) aspects of OpenID and the increased adoption by mass-consumer companies, the user experience of OpenID is increasingly a topic of focus. There’s a user-education hurdle to get used to the idea of logging into a site using an account you already have elsewhere, and the experience of bouncing between sites and attaching an OpenID can be jarring. An exciting aspect of Yahoo’s approach to OpenID was trying to push the technology itself “under the hood” so users just see a friendly “Sign in with your Yahoo! ID” button and are taken to a familiar Yahoo login page. Now a new startup called clickpass, which is launching today, is taking things even further with their magic one-click signin button that removes the back-and-forth dance entirely, and integrates with a number of popular OpenID providers and consumers–now including Plaxo.
When you go to sign into Plaxo, you’ll now see the distinctive orange clickpass button under the “Other ways to sign in” section (alongside our other OpenID integration points). The first time you click it, it will take you to a setup screen on clickpass’s site that asks you to log into Plaxo if you already have a Plaxo account, or if you’re new to Plaxo, you can sign up for a Plaxo account using your clickpass OpenID (no need to create a separate Plaxo password). Thereafter, when you come to Plaxo and click on the clickpass button, you’re immediately signed into Plaxo. That’s it, just one click.
It’s now definitely the quickest and easiest way to sign into Plaxo, especially when you’re on a different computer that doesn’t remember your saved passwords. And what’s cool is that you can hook up clickpass to a bunch of the sites you use, so you just log into clickpass and get one-click access to all the sites you’ve attached. And that first-time merge/signup page you get when using a new site is always the same, since it’s hosted by clickpass. So the idea is that users should quickly learn how to sign into any site that supports clickpass, since the button is recognizable, the user flow is always the same, and the whole process is designed by a company that’s primary focus is OpenID usability. Hopefully this will also encourage more sites to start consuming OpenIDs, since now there’s a stronger case to be made that it’s something mainstream users can understand and benefit from. There’s still more work to be done on OpenID technology and usability of course, but this is a major step forward.

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Redgee Capili

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  • Peter Nixey

    Hi Joseph,
    Thanks for the great post and most of all for working with us to help figure things out and get them right on Clickpass.
    With all of the GMail and Hotmail API’s coming out, what you guys have been doing with aggregation and now Clickpass it’s turning into a very exciting web.

  • Christian Watson

    I’m unable to login with my Yahoo! Open ID. I joined my regular Plaxo account login with my Yahoo! Open ID account, but now when I try to sign in it tells me that ‘I did not supply the required information.’
    There doesn’t appear to be a way to roll back to my regular Plaxo login either.
    This has been my first use of Open ID and it has been a disaster. Can someone help me out?

  • Patrick

    Did the Plaxo application interface change too? Mine used to be blue; now its white.

  • Sam Sethi

    Congrats to Peter Nixey on clickpass. Just signed up and used it with my plaxo account. Still surprised that Plaxo never became an openid provider ? My plaxo url could have been my openid account and my address book my XFN/whitelist.
    This would then allow me to build a “synaptic rating” of each contact based on my pulse conversations i.e the more I connected with a particular contact the stronger our relationship would appear. So my social graph would be dynamic and change like it does in the real world over time.
    This is also the basis for a rating system.