We’ve looked with some skepticism on OpenID in the past. Nevertheless, as more sites accept OpenID for login, it’s worth knowing about advances in the field. One recent change is the introduction of Emailtoid (that’s email-to-id, not some sort of android), which allows you to use your email address anywhere that you could use an OpenID.
The workflow with Emailtoid is simple. First, you give them your email address and they send you a one-time link via email (to verify that the address is really yours, of course). After you’ve confirmed your address, you can hook up your regular OpenID URL to it (which, of course, will require you to authenticate with your OpenID provider).The folks behind this idea are hoping it’s only a stopgap – that in the future, email providers will themselves maintain OpenIDs for people. Meanwhile, they keep their own database mapping email addresses to URLs.
Although it gets away from the original intent of OpenID – associating everyone with the URL that they own – Emailtoid seems like a usability improvement. For many of us, our email address is much more a personal identifier than our web site address. If you find it simpler to remember your email address then to remember which web address you used for OpenID, take a look.