The proliferation of online services has created a huge problem of identity management. Every week there’s a new demand to create an account or profile, which means each of us has an ever-growing archipelago of disconnected personas. OpenID is an attempt to solve the problem by having one set of credentials that can is used by a growing number of sites.
Simon Willison’s screencast on How to use OpenID is very much worth the time. He explains the benefits and addresses the potential problems. Tom Coates is on about social whitelisting with OpenID, which takes the combines the advantages of social software with trusted identities. The idea sounds like a deceptively simple solution to the problem of comment spam that only seems to loom larger every day.