OpenID is a shared identity service, which allows Internet users to log on to many different web sites using a single digital identity, single sign-on, eliminating the need for a different user name and password for each site.
Wow. Imagine that! Imagine never having to create a new profile or online identity when signing up for a new service! Imagine the possibilities!
Well Google is planning on helping you out with that. Released yesterday, they want to make “single sign-on” a reality. With Google on the team, this could begin to really take shape and form, especially since they’ve released an API which allows 3rd parties to start leveraging the goomail account. Their addition to the “team”, so to speak, completes the “trifecta” of already household brand names, like Yahoo and Live and Windows Live Accounts:
Currently users are required to create individual passwords for many websites they visit, but users would prefer to avoid this step so they could visits websites more easily … If users could log into sites without needing another password, it would allow websites to provide a more personalized experience to their users.
So, what’s the big deal? Other than the idea of single sign-on (which is a big deal), many of the big returns I see long term are philosophical. You see, OpenID is more than just a protocol or a cross-platform play, it’s an idea, an ideal. It’s like what V said from V for Vendetta as men are trying desperately to take the man down:
Creedy: Die! Die! Why won’t you die? … Why won’t you die…?
V: Beneath this mask there is more than flesh… Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.
This is the hope: That eventually one’s online persona or identity will be as close as possible to the flesh and blood person typing at the keyboard in their underpants in their mother’s garage (I never did this, btw…).
And perhaps there’s something that ministry can take away from this movement towards unity and singleness. Perhaps there’s a concept to take to heart as we build applications for the Kingdom: Is the product or service or web application providing a communication channel that will illumine the identity of the Gospel in such a way where it is neither diluted, disconnected, disassembled, or destroyed? Are we making it (the Gospel) harder to communicate than it actually is?
Think, conceptually, about OpenID and how it applies to your ministry, and if you want a real gutcheck, think about it theologically.