Yahoo! OpenID Provider service now available as a public beta

Today, we are launching the public beta of the much-anticipated Yahoo! OpenID Provider service. This means that users with a Yahoo! account - all 248 million of them - will be able to sign in to any website that supports OpenID 2.0, the latest version of the OpenID specification.

In case you are curious, here are the key features of this release:

  • Usability - Users will not have to understand the technical details of OpenID simply to use the technology. Thanks to features introduced in the OpenID 2.0 specification, users will not have to type their OpenID URL while signing in to websites. They can simply type yahoo.com in the OpenID textbox or, if the Relying Party website provides it, click a button that takes them to Yahoo!. By not requiring users to understand the meaning of an OpenID URL, we hope that more users will be able to overcome the initial hurdles of using this new echnology. For those of you who want to set up a custom URL, we will provide a way to do so, including the ability to use your Flickr photos page as your OpenID URL.
  • User education - We have spent a great deal of time thinking about educating users on the proper use of OpenID and you will see some of these thoughts implemented throughout our service - whether it's an explanation of the benefits of OpenID, our OpenID tour, or messaging on the safe use of OpenID at various locations.
  • Anti-phishing measures - We suggest that users of the Yahoo! OpenID service set up and look for their Sign-in Seal to confirm that they are entering their password on a genuine Yahoo! page. A Sign-in Seal is a user-created image or a message that will only appear on genuine Yahoo! pages. We hope to continue working with the OpenID community to combat phishing and provide more secure experiences to users.

We are also actively working on non-US English versions of the service. It is already available for 17 countries and we expect to roll out even more international support in the very near future.

If you'd like to use the Yahoo! OpenID service, feel free to start at Plaxo, Jyte, Pibb, or any other OpenID 2.0-compliant website (this list is growing everyday). Alternatively, visit http://openid.yahoo.com to set up your account for OpenID access. We would love to hear your feedback!

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank the OpenID community for educating us over the past 1 year and helping us make this happen. In particular, we'd like to say "Thank you" to Bill Washburn, Brian Ellin, David Recordon, Dick Hardt, Johannes Ernst, Johnny Bufu, Joseph Smarr, Josh Hoyt, Kaliya Hamlin, Kevin Turner, Larry Drebes, Mike Graves, Scott Kveton, and Simon Willison.

Finally, we would not be here without the efforts of the Yahoo! Membership Platform team. Our special thanks go out to: Aanchal Gupta, Aaron Faupell, Anand Sankaralingam, Arockiasamy Mohanraj, Balaji Narayanan, Dhruv Manek, John Jawed, Michael Partridge, Naveen Agarwal, Nik Bonaddio, Rob Metzgar, Sabari Devadoss, Shrirang Ramachandra Kulkarni, Vish Shetty, Vivian Fernandez, Yu Wang. Thanks also to the all the other Yahoos that supported us in this effort.

We are obviously very excited about what this day means for our users, the OpenID technology, and the web in general. We are just getting
started and we hope to release more OpenID-enabled features in the future.

Shreyas Doshi and Allen Tom
Yahoo! Membership Platform team

Also: Jeremy Zawodny and Allen Tom sat down yesterday to briefly discuss OpenID at Yahoo. Here's the video...