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A modest proposal: Universal login from Google

How come I can't use my Google login for other services?

There are so many useful apps that run on the Web, one could be lulled into thinking that it's possible to get by without traditional software. Certainly we can get by on the Web alone, and do e-mail, write documents, chat, videoconference, listen to music, play games, and so forth, all without leaving the browser.

The problem is that every time you go to a new site or service, you need to log in to it. There are hacks to make this easier (I use Roboform to manage passwords), but we shouldn't need to have a different login for every service. It's a pain in the neck.

There is some chance that OpenID could clear things up. It's a clever solution that's based on the premise that if you log in to a known secure service, that site can authenticate you to other services. But I fear OpenID is too conceptually different from the standard signon-with-password concept for consumers to grasp.

Here's what I'd like to see: The Google login used to authenticate other services. We've already got a suite of apps that we can access from one Google ID. Wouldn't it be useful if Google offered authentication as a service to other Web 2.0 sites?

This isn't an original idea. Microsoft has been trying to create the universal login for years. And actually, I would not be surprised to see this sooner from Amazon, which already has a full suite of Web services that developers can tap into; if the login service used Amazon.com IDs, it'd be very useful.

This is one of the great things about Facebook: Once you're logged in, for the most part you don't need to create a new user identify when you add new apps to your profile. The rest of the Web should be so easy.