[disclaimer: this post is related to my work as CEO of Glubble]
Yesterday was a big day for Glubble, a private social network for (extended) families including small children. We introduced the ability to register and log in to Glubble with existing accounts from other services using OpenID.
The continuous battle for the consumer has led to a wilderness of services fighting to lock in the identity (data) of the user. Services require the user to register with e-mail addresses and passwords, forcing all of us to maintain multiple identities across services. Once in, its hard to get out again.
Ideally I would like to see services appear that have only one purpose, to protect your identity on the web. It’s like a bank which only serves you and your identity and doesn’t have any other commercial activities (like advertisement based business models for example). It ensures that you are in control of your identity. Your identity, and related to that the ability to control your privacy, is probably the most valuable thing on the web and we tend to give it away easily for some fool’s gold. It’s nearly impossible to create a marketplace for identity providers, mostly because there is no business model that can create such a market. We don’t understand nor care its important, and currently we aren’t willing to pay for it.
The next best thing besides neutral identity providers is OpenID. OpenID allows consumers to re-use an existing (and trusted) identity. If you already have an account with Google, or Facebook, or whatever, OpenID let’s you re-use that account to register and log into new services. After speaking with Chris Messina, OpenID advocate, we decided to implement OpenID for Glubble. I believe we now may be the first service for families on the web supporting OpenID.
The benefits for the consumer are huge. A nearly 1-click registration and log in process replaces the need to remember yet another e-mail address and password combination. We’ve gone live with it yesterday, and although it is premature to discuss statistics, I can say now that already 50% of new users are registering with one of the OpenID options we currently provide! I expect this nr to increase when we add more providers in the coming days. If you want to, you can give it a try here.
At Glubble we are committed to putting the user in control. Providing an OpenID registration and log in is the first step. We will continue to add more controls that empowers the Glubble user to take control of his identity and privacy. We ‘re doing this the hard way (everything on Glubble is private by default, and we let the user decide what he wants to share publicly). But in the end we feel it will help the consumer to become more aware of the need to be in control of identity and privacy.
OpenID is the first step, and we are very happy with it 🙂