I wrote a post this evening about Google’s forthcoming announcement that all Google Apps for Your Domain customers would be enabled with OpenID provider functionality within the next few weeks. It was emailed to a public list and it seems pretty clear that it wasn’t meant to be.
I think this is very important. Writing the article was an opportunity to address the tension between small innovators and big vendors in the digital freedom space. (Hey, new phrase for me, but isn’t that what this is?) That’s something I’ve been thinking about peripherally for awhile. Both are needed, people say. Innovators on the edge to come up with crazy ideas and be authentic – big vendors like Google and Facebook to deliver the ideas to the people, validate them and grant the functionality only possible with scale. It’s not always pretty, though.
I ran with this story just as fast as I could, but I think I will revisit it because it’s a big deal. For what it’s worth, I sure didn’t start my RWW headline with “EXCLUSIVE” or anything like that – because that’s so crudely self-aggrandizing that it’s embarrassing to read.
The Google employee who wrote the email disclosing the big plans, Google Security Product Manager Eric Sachs, would be great to interview. I should also contact Google PR. OpenID community members, some of whom have reached out to me for a little “check in” in the 45 minutes since I wrote that post (!), Facebook and JanRain would all be good parties to interview for a follow up post.
All of this is serious stuff: digital identity, web navigation, data resource utlization, freedom to use our resources online. For example, that’s the kind of stuff that Nick Givotovsky, an internet identity trailblazer whose obituary I wrote on ReadWriteWeb first thing this morning, will be best known for (outside his immediate friends and family). In this cynical era we often don’t take ourselves seriously, publicly, but these matters are honestly important for the future of the human experience. Google’s OpenID moves we covered tonight deserve further coverage in that context. Let me know publicly or privately if you can contribute to the research I’ll be gathering on the topic.
It’s funny, by the way, originally I titled this post: Google’s Moves in OpenID – A Big Deal. That was much more ReadWriteWeb, news reporting, declarative style. The new headline, “Researching Google’s Moves in OpenID” sounds much more like a request for help in digging up any details on this I can can for a more informed story. That’s honestly how I feel. I think the gap between time pressed blog-journalism and the tradition of solid journalism that’s been established is substantial. I’d like to find a middle ground, a way to have my cake and eat it too. Tools, like I work with all the time, are one way I think – but asking for help from a larger community is another.
So what do you know about Google and OpenID? What do you think? Let me know, let me know if I can quote you or if you prefer to stay private, and either way it will be helpful for a story that I’ll tell to more people than are reading this blog.