Relatively not too many and not too much

While the announcement from Microsoft that LiveID will now serve as an OpenID IdP is good news for OpenID, some perspective is in order. Yet again. What does a few million more OpenIDs mean? Not much really.

As I have said repeatedly, the questions is not how many people have OpenIDs, its how many people want OpenIDs and what can they do with them once they have them? The answers are, respectively:

Relatively not too many and not too much.

By “relatively not too many” I mean the vast majority of consumers who technically have an OpenID don’t know they have one, don’t know what OpenID is, and wouldn’t use it even if they knew about it. By “not too much” I mean that even though there are a large number of RPs in terms of numbers, there are few that are important in terms of actual traffic.

The part of this now tired old game that I fine annoying is that it would be easy to measure real OpenID adoption. All that is needed is for a few of the major OpenID providers (which can now count Microsoft as a member) to publish metrics of how many OpenID authentications they perform on a periodic basis.

All the skeptics like myself could be shut up with a few simple graphs.

The fact that this data is not being published speaks louder than the periodic announcement of another huge number of OpenIDs.

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