Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Facebook's Real Accomplishment: The ID Problem

The net is full of neat goodies. They're mostly independent of one another.
Any compelling app that aspires to be more than a solitaire game requires you
to identify yourself in someway or other. Using the same password is a bad
idea because most sites don't store hashed passwords (you can tell my
requesting your password -- if it bounces back in an email, stop using it,
because the site made the double violation of storing it in plain text and
then emailing it in plain text).

In some sense, Facebook has solved the identity problem -- you login once, into
Facebook, and can then access any app in the Facebook world without having
to create yet another identity. You lose much of the anonymity the
internet provides, but given the vast numbers of people that are interested
in slinging sheep and dressing as pirates, many don't care.

This is what single-sign-on looks like in the constrained mini-net world
defined by Facebook. Will it happen in the big bad net?

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