With the spread of cloud computing, social networking, and client-based technologies, fewer and fewer of our computing tasks are taking place on our personal computers. More of them are going online -- into the cloud. We have more usernames and passwords to manage than ever.
The most reckless web surfers use the same login and password on dozens of sites, making themselves vulnerable to identity theft. The rest of us try to memorize a huge variety of them, which isn't a practical solution either.
That's where OpenID, Google ID, and Yahoo! ID come in handy. You can literally log into almost any website now using nothing more than a click to allow the information to be passed. No more entering username and password into a form. And there's more on the horizon.
Now browsers like the new Chrome are supporting Information Cards. These are
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information files stored by the browser that can be accessed by websites with your permission. You can log into sites without entering any information. It just takes a mouse click on an authorize link. A lot of information can be potentially stored on those cards, but right now it's mainly name and default username.
"For social media, maintaining separate usernames and passwords for each site we visit will certainly become secondary to OpenID, OAuth, Facebook Connect, and myriad other players in this new space," says Parkland-based IT consultant Mark Richman, whose clients include major financial institutions, e-commerce firms, and startups.
For highly secure web applications, such as banking, the adoption rate will certainly be slowest. Privacy concerns, lack of centralized identity management, and the need for banks to support the least technical users will always be barriers to adoption.
In the future, these could store default privacy settings, default avatars, links to your favorite sites for instant sharing, and more. This kind of integration is going to become very, very cool.