Last Thursday OpenID announced that Facebook would join its board. This is a big announcement because many view OpenID and Facebook Connect (Facebook’s API) as competitors. However, if you look at the comments in some blogs, many support the move and anticipate the benefits and wider adoption not only for users, but for companies supporting OpenID as well.
For social and online community software providers like HiveLive, there are benefits to accepting OpenID, Facebook Connect, and Open Social. The inherent openness of the widely accepted APIs allows for streamlined interactions among users and their profile data across the web; my profile information (and in some cases the content I create) may move easily follow me across the web from site to site. I do not need to recreate content and contacts at, say, Facebook or Adobe Users Groups; my information would freely flow between both sites. By allowing this information to easily flow in and out of a community, social and online community software providers help further propagate traditionally single site-bound information. A community member’s information and UGC follows them across the web. Archipelagos of people, interactions, and content give way to interactive and people-content woven continents.
Even more forward-looking, I see this as one more step to the growing acceptance of SaaS. As more websites allow profile information, user interactions, and sometimes content to follow users from site to site, the flow of information will continue to evolve towards the cloud and way from hard drives. Barriers to content and information sharing deteriorate. Not only will users’ lives be “lived” more online, the attributes and interactions that define identify will be more easily available.
Update: RRW has posted a write up of yesterday’s OpenID UX (User Experience) Summit. While the 92% seems a bit, um, inflated, perhaps in the words of Marshall Kirkpatrick “OpenID’s usability problems appear closer than ever to being solved for good.”