If you haven’t stumbled upon any sites that use OpenID yet, I’ll fill you in on why you might be seeing it in more places soon. OpenID is a decentralized, single sign on system which allows visitors to use one set of credentials for multiple websites. And, since it’s decentralized, there are many providers to choose from.

This is a benefit for visitors as well as developers. It allows users to gain access to more websites without having to remember or create usernames and passwords. It helps developers by removing the requirements to authenticate usernames and passwords of users.

Once you sign up for an OpenID at a provider like http://myopenid.com you will use a URL (this URL is your OpenID) on websites that allow OpenID authentication. The application will redirect you to your provider so you can sign in there. The provider will then ask if you wish to authenticate to the requesting website. When you select allow once or allow forever, you will be redirected back to the requesting website.

If you want to try it now, get an OpenID from http://myopenid.com , sign in here, and post a comment on this article.

If you are interested in reducing the length of your OpenID, you can check out http://tinyid.us for a shorter ID.

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