Last night ClickPass has launched. ClickPass is a single-click-signon service that works on top of OpenID. The extra service that ClickPass offers is that you don’t have to remember your OpenID account, Clickpass does that for you. ClickPass is a Y Combinator start-up, which probably explains why some of the other Y startups already support their service.
You can use ClickPass to combine your logins for the services you use, like LiveJournal and WordPress. For each service ClickPass generates a new account which connects to the services account.
ClickPass is not without controversies, it makes use of the OpenID standard but adds a new ‘user discovery service’ on top of it. That service is not based on a standard. OpenID advocates would have liked to see ClickPass adopt a discovery standard like ‘SAML idp discovery’. ClickPass has not reacted on that. This issue will probably soon be addressed since OpenID’s chairmember, Scott Kveton, is also a member of the ClickPass board.
Besides not adopting standards ClickPass has some other downsides. The power of OpenID is that it’s a standard, not a service. ClickPass uses OpenID to create single server sign-on situation. You will always stay dependent to ClickPass for your login services, while in the standard OpenID situation you can easily migrate to another OpenID provider. Of course does the single server/service situation delivers the ease that SinglePass brings, with SinglePass there is no need to provide your OpenID URL. That is made possible because there is only one SinglePass.
But SinglePass attracts more attention to the OpenID protocol and fills the gap that lies in the User Experience part of OpenID. Peter Nixey’s and Immad Akhund have designed a well thought through service with a well designed UI. At the moment, according their website, four services are supported. Another next step has set in the authentication revolution.