SpreadOpenID.org is a great looking project aiming to make it easy to learning about and chose a provider for OpenID. Did you hear that? Someone has finally begun a project dedicated to communicating clearly and accessibly about OpenID! Today is a beautiful day.Would you like to know more about the different options available for an OpenID account?
If you're not familiar with OpenID - it's a single-sign-on system that lets you log in to any website that supports OpenID. The site you sign into just checks with your trusted OpenID provider, to whom you provide your password to prove you're you. Many websites will let you associate an OpenID within a unique account you create with them and log in with either your unique user name and password, or through OpenID . Basecamp does it this way, for example. After you create a Basecamp account, you can add an OpenID to that account just like you would a profile photo. You can then use that OpenID to login instead of using your Basecamp username and password. That's one way it's done.
That's just the begining of what you can do with OpenID. It's a little hard to explain - thus the need for efforts like SpreadOpenID. Once you use it, you'll understand it intuitively. There are still many options of OpenID vendors to chose between, however, many of which offer different advanced features.
What's on SpreadOpenID?
Right now there are two basic offerings on the site. The first is a survey of 11 OpenID providers and a list of URLs for major vendors who let users use their accounts as OpenID (like AIM, Orange, WordPress).
The survey of dedicated OpenID vendors is awesome, covering the basics like security and login requirements but also asking whether the provider offers advanced (and important) features like multiple personas and search-friendly microformats.
Accounts with multiple personas mean you can choose what parts of your data to expose to each different site you login to with your OpenID. Some of Robert Scoble's friends might appreciate that, for example.
The second half of the site is a list of technical terms and basic explanations of them. This is quite helpful.
This is a project of the sort that many people working on OpenID have discussed for a long time. It's high time that someone take a stab at it. SpreadOpenID does a good job right out of the gate. There's a whole lot of room for improvement, particularly in the presentation of the information - but I think you'll appreciate it just the way it is already.