A plan to make it easier for web users to manage their online identities has won the support of Microsoft.
The Open ID scheme uses web addresses that people already own to help authenticate their identity. In this way it tries to reduce the number of names and passwords that people have to remember and manage. As part of the deal Microsoft is sharing some of its technology with Open ID developers and will include it in future identity-related products.
The Open ID community, which is a loose coalition of programmers, is wrestling with ways to handle the different sorts of identification that use of the web demands. Sites such as online banks understandably demand far more rigorous guarantees about someone's identity than places such as discussion forums which are far more informal.
However, many sites still rely on one-size-fits-all user name and password systems which get increasingly cumbersome to manage and have many well-documented shortcomings.
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