So what if we'll be able to login to Facebook with an OpenId account?
Facebook potentially makes a huge step backwards: the whole authentication and verification process can be delegated to indipendent, widely recognized, issuers – one that adopts the OpenID standard (see: OpenID Foundation). By adhering to it,
users can authenticate at different services with one single digital
identity. To put it graphically, the starting point was (and still is, until the functionality is enabled and many users migrate their identity to OpenId):
For an OpenId user, on the other hand, the picture is as follows:
Will Facebook continue further along this road, giving up other parts to dedicated services and opening up their platform to the point that becomes an intersection of specialized services and not an all-comprehensive über-network with universal coverage – but also the limitations of a walled garden?
My guess is that the two approaches will coexist, giving
- a hard-to-mantain (but rich) user experience to those publishers who are eager to engage in a complex content management network of services – and to their readers/followers;
- a simplified content exchange system to users who are not interested in polished publishing but just in the act of sharing with their trusted an more-or-less private network of contacts.
What's in it for Facebook as a profit-making company? Managing relationships, reputation – and offering advertisement opportunities – should provide a wide set of opportunities for a successful business model…