Another major victory for the Open Web: today Google has become an OpenID provider. This means you can now sign into sites like Plaxo with your existing Google Account, removing the need to remember separate passwords on each site you use. Obviously with a site as large and mainstream as Google supporting OpenID–in the company now of Yahoo, AOL, and (as of Monday) Microsoft–this will have a major impact on the web.
So starting today, you can now sign in to Plaxo (or sign up, if you’re not yet a member) using your existing Google credentials. Just look for the “Sign in with a Google Account” link on our signin page.
This is also the foundation for secure data sharing between your Google account and the other services you use. In this first version, you can share your gmail e-mail address when you sign in to Plaxo. If you’ve already got that gmail address on your Plaxo account, we’ll recognize you and sign you in automatically. And if you’re signing up for a new Plaxo account, we’ll pre-fill your gmail address in our registration, and we won’t have to send you one of those e-mails asking you to confirm you really own it–since you already did by using OpenID! [Geek note: Google is using Attribute Exchange to send us the e-mail address, which I believe is one of the first mainstream uses of this OpenID extension!]
Going forward, we’re hoping to see more data flow across that trusted link, including your address book and calendar (with your permission, of course). After all, that’s what Plaxo’s all about: keeping you connected by making the services you use work better together.
So go ahead and give it a try. You can also read Google’s announcement. And Google’s been doing a lot of research on how to improve the user experience for OpenID, so if you’re interested in where this technology is headed, it’s definitely worth checking out. John McCrea also provides some context on this announcement.
BTW, here’s what you’ll see before you sign into Plaxo using your Google account: