Single Sign-On / Single Identity for the Cyberspace

Tell me. How many username/password do you have? How do you remember all of them? Are the IDs and password same across sites? How do you remember all of them? Do you change password very often? Do you write down your password in a book, or keep them in a spreadsheet or document, or use some password manager tools? How many username/password combinations have you already forgotten?

Let me tell you my situation here. I have accounts with my banks (India and US), a lot of email providers like Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, multiple accounts in my own domains,,, domain and hosting providers, sites like,,,,,, various discussion forums, work company network, client network, etc.. Some of the blogs need you to even register in order to leave a comment or join discussions. This list is growing everyday. Friend, I am tired of this.

What happened to the single sign-on (SSO) initiatives for the web? When Microsoft bought years ago and came up with .Net passport, I expected that Microsoft would make it simple and many websites will use it. But that did not happen. AOL also provides a Screen Name Service in similar lines. I rarely see sites that accept either of them. I think these services are not meant for common use.

Nowadays Google also started using a single login concept. Once you login to Google, you can access GMail, Personalized Google homepage, Froogle, Google Reader, etc. and Orkut – a Google affiliate. Still this does not solve the problem, though this is a little move ahead.

Now I am looking forward to a free (like community based or open source based) service which identifies me in the Internet – my single identity for the cyberspace. Like the passport issued by countries, or like the Social Security Number in the USA or like thump impression. I should be able to use this identity in any website. This service should be provided free to all websites and users. This should not be monopoly of a company. This should be identity theft proof. I should be able to create different profiles for my identity – I may need one as my work profile, another as my blog profile and another id as my religious profile. All of them derived from my basic identity.

Is this possible only in science fiction stories? I hope not! What do you think?

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