So despite the hubbub over the google monster releasing another google product that will take over the google world, people are missing another important announcement: the Google Account system for web applications. What does this mean to you? Not much. What does it mean to me, the nimble web developer? Well for one it means the death of individual signups on sites. Now AOL has open signups using their screenname service (login w/AOL or AIM member names, not sure why it wasn’t applied to the new netscape though), and microsoft was pushing passport for years (now its Windows Live ID). So from a web developer standpoint, there is no longer a reason to force users to create custom usernames and passwords they might ultimately forget on each new site when you can let them sign in with their existing usernames and passwords and be active on your site in seconds vs minutes. That reduced friction and instant gratification is going to be huge for companies trying to target consumer oriented services, as they won’t lose those 20-30% of customers (might be more) who give up when told to register for yet another web service.
My theory: people will have 3 or 4 passwords tops within 2 years. These smaller portable username projects won’t take off though, but they will be worthy efforts. The established brands will lock this up immediately.