I always consider OpenID a great idea eliminating the need to remember and retype my user name and password thousands of times to register/login to online services. However, there is only small portion of sites integrating OpenID for a reason: not many people have created an OpenID (and ever known what hell it means). It would be much easier to tell them to register to a service using their GMail’s login info instead and chance they has already owned an Google’s mail account is much higher than having an open id.

Recognizing the need and benefits to use its own credentials everywhere, Google now allows web services to join a limited test of an API based on the OpenID 2.0 protocol that offers users the option to sign in to websites with their Google account credentials.

The initial version of the API will enable websites to validate the identity of a Google Account user plus the optional ability to request the user’s e-mail address. Taking Plaxo, one of early selected services which are allowed to integrate Google Account for sign-on option, you’ll reach familiar Google login page as first step to register.

After confirming that you wish to register to Plaxo using Google’s credential, you’ll be redirected to Plexo’s sign-up screen for additional info with e-mail address pre-filled by GMail.

Not much different from other OpenID providers though the ability to access Portable Contacts and OpenSocial REST APIs will come in near future that:

…allow a website to immediately provide a much more streamlined, personalized and socially relevant experience for users when they log in to trusted websites.

stated on Google APIs blog.

To learn more about this new API please consult the documentation. At the moment you can access to the limited trial via Google Federated Login discussion group and register using the provided online registration form if you are interested in offering Google OpenID for sign-on to your services.

Update: After a number of reports suggested that Google was not following the OpenID guidelines closely but just forking OpenID to suit its own agenda, Google quickly anwswered pointing out there are some technical issues they have to overcome to fully support standards and they will start publishing XRDS files (part of OpenID specs) “as quickly as possible.” Moreover, they remove restriction and now open API to all websites. Read more…

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