How to Connect Your Email Address to Your OpenID Account

30 Sep

OpenID is an excellent solution for establishing a single identity for all your online accounts, but many people haven’t even tried it yet. For some, the concept of using a URL address for a login ID instead of the traditional email address is still completely foreign.

However, Email to ID could be what the doctor ordered and what these creatures of habits need. It could also be what OpenID needs in order to expedite wide-spread acceptance as the single sign-on identity standard. You can now link your email address (or several of them) to your OpenID and then use that email address (any of them) to log into any online service that supports it! The beauty rests in the simplicity of it all. Best of all, it’s all free and easy to do.

First, a little background information on this process

Email to ID is based on the EAUT (Email Address to URL Translation) protocol that allows standard email addresses to be transformed into URLs for services like OpenID. As far as concerns regarding security and who controls everything, EAUT was designed to work in a distributed fashion, so that there isn’t a single authority in charge of everything. Each email service controls how email addresses at their domain are resolved into URLs. 

Even though EAUT is designed to be decentralized, it will take time for email providers to add support. In these cases, a fallback service can be used, which can translate ANY email address to a URL. Relying parties can use any fallback service they wish, but Email to ID is recommended.  The need for a fallback service will decrease as more email providers support EAUT natively. 

Why a fallback service like Email to ID?

Emailtoid was designed as a technology prototype to act as a temporary solution to a usability problem in OpenID. Email to ID always defers to the email providers first and only falls back to the local resolution service if the email provider does not support email-to-OpenID resolution. 

What’s important for Email to ID’s long-term Success?

There are a couple of things that need to happen in order for Email to ID to become a normal part of our online experience. First, OpenID needs to formally and officially support the EAUT protocol. Second, all email providers need to get on board and support OpenID and EAUT. It’s not only good for their members but for them as well, so it’s really a no-brainer. The same is true for all online services and their stance regarding OpenID support - the more services that embrace OpenID, the better for us all.

How to do it

Here’s how easy it is to connect your email address with your OpenID account. It literally takes a couple of minutes. When completed we will show you how to use it with a site that supports EAUT such as Magnolia.

1. First, you’ll need an OpenID account. You might already have one because many services like AIM and LiveJournal include an OpenID for members. You can check here. If you don’t already own one then just create one from any of the official OpenID providers on that page. Popular providers include ClaimID, myOpenID, myVidoop, and VeriSign’s Personal Identity Provider. 

2. Go to Email to ID and add your OpenID account along with the email address you want to associate with it. You can add multiple addresses if you want. You’ll receive an email with an access key you can enter to complete the connection or you can simply click the link in the email. Either way works fine.

That’s it, really. It’s that easy. Enter the email address and OpenID account and they’ll be connected. You can just as easily disconnect them or add another email address or change the OpenID provider should you want to do so. It’s very flexible and puts you in control.

How to use your new email to ID account on a service

Now that you’ve linked your email address with your OpenID account, you can use your familiar email address on any site that supports it. In this example, we’ll use the popular social bookmarking service, Magnolia.

1. Go to the Magnolia sign in page and enter your email address in the OpenID box instead of the usual OpenID URL. 

2. You’ll be redirected to a confirmation page on your OpenID provider’s site. Click continue to complete the transaction. 

3. That’s it. You’re done. No need to enter tedious profile information or even a password. Just create the screen name you want and the email address and you’re done with the sign-up process in a fraction of the time that it usually takes. Email to ID and OpenID handles all of the dirty work for you.

Final thoughts

You’ve just gotten a glimpse of what could very well be the future of online registration thanks to the OpenID single sign on identity system along with the Email to ID URL translation based on the EAUT protocol. As mentioned earlier, in order for this much improved process to become a common standard and available everywhere online, more services need to support OpenID and EAUT. The good news is that increasing new services are in fact supporting OpenID. To keep up with all of the new additions to this list go to the OpenID Directory or subscribe to its RSS feed which updates constantly.

Related Articles at Mashable | All That's New on the Web:

The Daily Poll: How Often Do You Use OpenID to Login?
Another Victory For OpenID: Yahoo Announces Support
Blogger’s OpenID Support Now Official
Wikispaces Adds OpenID Suport
Blogger Beta Gets OpenID Support
Wetpaint Adds OpenID Support
Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM and Verisign Join OpenID Foundation

Comments Off on How to Connect Your Email Address to Your OpenID Account

Posted in Web 2.0


Tags: , , , ,