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MySpace helps develop OpenID extension for Flock

The new browser extension helps identify OpenID participants and manage them across the Web. Good timing, considering Facebook Connect is about to make its big debut.

There's a new OpenID extension for "social browser" Flock, and it was created with the help of password management service Vidoop and News Corp.-owned social network MySpace.

It's now available for download for all Flock users who have upgraded to Flock 2.0. For MySpace, which initially announced its support for OpenID back in July, this is also a push for Data Availability, a universal-login project that the social network announced in May but has since only rolled out with a few partners.

Yahoo, one of MySpace's launch partners for Data Availability, has also thrown its weight behind OpenID.

"As three companies dedicated to empowering users to easily share content and experiences, this was a very rewarding--and relatively fast--collaboration," Max Engel, MySpace's Data Availability product manager, said in a release. "Our goal was to eliminate some of the work involved in jumping between social experiences on the Web so that people can focus on their connections and the incredible content that's out there. This Flock extension will give millions of people an easier way to expand their experiences and expression without boundaries."

The OpenID Flock extension allows for easier credential management within the browser and makes it more apparent when a site will accept an OpenID login. A handful of OpenID extensions already exist for the open-source Flock, but this one's got the seal of approval from some big names.

There are deeper reasons for MySpace being so vocal about OpenID support, though. The standard has seen its toughest rival yet in the form of Facebook Connect, a data-portability project which enjoyed a high-profile New York Times writeup this week and will reportedly be ready for a full debut very soon. (It's already been implemented on a number of sites.)

Flock, unfortunately, isn't an enormous player in the browser space. It has tons of bells and whistles, but is still well behind the likes of Internet Explorer and Firefox in terms of downloads, and has newfound competition from Google's Chrome.

Regardless, MySpace has been paying a lot of lip service to open standards recently, and it's always good to see real developments.