Flickr to Authenticate OpenID – Is This The Yahoo! CES Announcement?

Rumors abound that Yahoo! will make a major announcement about OpenID today at CES. It looks like at the very least you’ll be able to use your Flickr user page URL to log in anywhere that supports OpenID login. The code is live, view source of any user page and search for OpenID and you’ll find it.

The service, however, is not usable yet. Try logging in to an OpenID enabled site using your Flickr URL and you’ll get this message: “Hey there! You have stopped by a bit sooner than we had expected. This feature is still being tested, so please check back in a few days. ” So Flickr is set to become one more of a long list of accounts you can use to login to a relative handful of websites.

Yahoo! probably has more adherents than G*d, so meaningful OpenID support company wide would blow the doors wide open. That’s not likely to be what happens.

There’s no code along these lines in other Yahoo! services like Del.icio.us, Upcoming or Mash. The code in question reads: link rel=”openid2.provider” href=”https/open.login.yahooapis.com/openid/op/auth” That is cause for optimism in as much as it’s a company-wide URL.

Update: See also https://me.yahoo.com/ – all the more reason to be optimistic. I never give people enough credit when writing posts like this!

Is this all there is?

When big vendors offer to authenticate your identity to the mostly tiny sites around the web that accept outside OpenID credentials, it’s hard to get excited about that anymore. I’ve got an OpenID account and would like to use it to login to Yahoo! services.

To be fair, I said it was a let down when Google recently enabled OpenID login to the commenting on their beta version of Blogger and it was only a week or two until all of Blogger allowed OpenID from any other provider. That’s still a small start but it is something and it’s a major vendor acting as a relying party instead of just an authenticating party. That’s where the big turn in the road is.

I sure hope Yahoo! is going to announce more than slow experimentation with being an authenticating party at CES. Remember AOL’s big OpenID announcement? It’s good for nothing but PR – they haven’t done anything with it, haven’t educated their users about it, nothing. It’s good PR for OpenID advocates too, but otherwise it’s a let down.

These major vendors also don’t seem to do much beyond simple authentication. Check out our coverage of SpreadOpenID for a discussion about what kinds of awesomeness are possible. Let’s see some awesomeness around OpenID at CES, can we Yahoo!?

Maybe I’m being an unappreciative jerk though. Maybe this is plenty of cause for OpenID supporters to celebrate.

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