- It documents the use of OpenID 2.0’s directed identity mode. Yes this is “a departure from the process outlined in OpenID 1.0″, but that could be considered true of all new features found in 2.0. Google certainly isn’t the first to implement this feature:
- Yahoo’s OpenID page recommends users enter “yahoo.com” in the identity box on web sites, which will initiate a directed identity authentication request.
- We’ve been using directed identity with Launchpad to implement single sign on for various Canonical/Ubuntu sites.
Given that Google account holders identify themselves by email address, users aren’t likely to know a URL to enter, so this kind of makes sense.
- The identity URLs returned by the OpenID provider do not directly reveal information about the user, containing a long random string to differentiate between users. If the relying party wants any user details, they must request them via the standard OpenID Attribute Exchange protocol.
- They are performing access control based on the OpenID realm of the relying party. I can understand doing this in the short term, as it gives them a way to handle a migration should they make an incompatible change during the beta. If they continue to restrict access after the beta, you might have a valid concern.
It looks like there would be no problem talking to their provider using existing off the shelf OpenID libraries (like the ones from JanRain).
If you have an existing site using OpenID for login, chances are that after registering the realm with Google you’d be able to log in by entering Google’s OP server URL. At that point, it’d be fairly trivial to add another button to the login page – sites seem pretty happy to plaster provider-specific radio buttons and entry boxes all over the page already …