Great news for OpenID aficionados, the largest identity social network is embracing OpenID. With 221M users, one could easily conclude that OpenID has just received the stimulus package that it needed to finally achieve critical mass. But, what does it really mean for OpenID? While we are all looking forward to the day FaceBook becomes both an OpenID provider and relying party, the initial impact is more likely to be a significant change in the OpenID user interface. As shown, here and there, is clear that from a UI standpoint, Google and FaceBook are converging in terms of how to achieve login and exchange of personal data across relying parties and social networks.
While FaceBook will likely integrate OpenID as the "alternate" login method for FaceBook Connect, Google and its followers will do the same with Open Social and Google Friends Connect (in the case of Google, you may also get the friendly Yahoo!, MySpace and AOL followers). By becoming the alternate login method (but a more obscure one), the risk for OpenID is to be relegated to the level of OAuth and SAML as authentication protocols without any consumer brand recognition. Alternatively, OpenID may rise above the "open stack" plumbing to become the network mark that ensures interoperability across the FaceBook and Google networks. That my friend, is of course politics, but with a Facebook on board, it would appear that this week, this old chimera of federated Internet identity may have made a significant leap forward.