Pay Attention to Google and Identity

Jul 9, 2009 Michael Wurzer

As I mentioned the other day, lots of people have written about Google’s recent updates to their real estate search and the discussion continues.  While I didn’t find a lot new or interesting there, another bit of information leaked about Google yesterday that is interesting: “Google plans to announce in coming weeks that it is turning each of the one million plus Google Apps customer domains into an OpenID provider, enabling millions of people to log in to OpenID-supporting websites with their work, school or organization ID.”

This is the identity issue I’ve mentioned several times in the last few months.  As the Read/Write Web article concludes:

In other words, this move by Google could kill the spirit of OpenID by drowning the letter of OpenID with support. We think we’re logging in to websites with our work or school ID, and OpenID lovers think we’re logging in with OpenID, but we’re actually logging in with a Google-controlled ID. All the heavy lifting would be done, Google would take care of the data storage and probably offer some neat value-added features. All the companies involved would have to do is hand online identity provisioning over to the company that they have already purchased email, calendaring and document sharing from. (“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety,” Ben Franklin once wrote, “deserve neither liberty nor safety.”)

At least it’s not Facebook!

So goes the wrestling of titans, on the very playing field created by champions of the free and independent little guy.

These web infrastructure issues are much more important, in my view, to the future of MLSs than whether Google displays ads for real estate listings on a map.