Now don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of OpenID. I've written about it both here and on DisruptiveTelephony. I was part of a long podcast about OpenID security. I subscribe to the DataPortablility.org mailing list. My home site is configured to be an OpenID provider. So is my work blog site.
But that's the point, really...
We don't really need more OpenID providers - we need sites that will accept OpenID!
Here are all the OpenID providers that I can currently use (at least, the ones I remember):
- blogs.voxeo.com (and several variants on this URL)
- openid.aol.com/danyork324 as well as a couple of other AOL screen names (per AOL's support)
- and now my Yahoo! account
I obviously have absolutely ZERO problem getting an OpenID.
The problem I have is using one of my OpenIDs. Here's the companion list of where I can use my OpenID on a regular basis:
- leave a comment on a Blogger blog (but I already have a Google account that I'm usually logged into)
- leave a comment on a LiveJournal blog (but I already have a LJ account)
- login to Plaxo (but I had an account there that pre-dates their OpenID support, and yes, I know I can tie them together)
- login to Twitterfeed.com to create a RSS-to-Twitter stream
- leave comments on random other blogs that support OpenID
And... and... and... ???
Now, granted, it's nice to be able to leave those comments... but that's not a whole lot of usefulness out of my zillion different OpenIDs. Yes, I know there is are directories of OpenID-enabled site (for example, here and here). If I ever want a quick wiki page, I know there are half a dozen Wiki sites that let you create one with an OpenID. But here's the thing... I don't use those sites that are listed. Now, maybe I should, as a way of thanking them for their OpenID support, but I don't.
On one level, I'm thrilled that Yahoo is becoming an OpenID provider. It is a huge endorsement for the protocol. But I'd be far happier if Yahoo was announcing that I could login to their sites with an OpenID. Let me choose one of my OpenIDs and let me use that as the one to use to login to my Flickr account, and my Yahoo!Messenger and my Yahoo!Mail and del.icio.us and all the other sites that Yahoo! owns. THAT would be something to be incredibly excited about.
As it is, I fear that some % of those 248 million Yahoo! users will investigate what this OpenID site is all about and find that... well.. there aren't a whole lot of places they can really use it.
That is what we need. (And what sites like SpreadOpenID, which is unfortunately down for maintenance, are all about.)
When will Yahoo! go the next step and let us use our OpenIDs on Yahoo! sites? (I agree with Marshall Kirkpatrick that they probably won't anytime soon.)
P.S. And yes, I'm trying to do my part and get my work blog site to support OpenID for comments.