Authentication and identity has been a dilemma for a long time on the Internet. Just think of the number of sites you belong to where you have to update profiles and manage accounts. A few years ago Microsoft attempted to resolve this issue with its Passport service. Unfortunately, is was not adopted due to the lack of open standards and integration with a wide variety of tools.
A new company, Sxip, is trying to correct and improve on this model, which means centralized reputation and identity management for the end user and improved member management for websites. This is becoming even more important with the rise of so many social networks.
We are actively researching this system for use in our own social network and web service projects. It could help immensely with the member management and integration of member profiles. The best description and overview of the system is Dick Hardt’s OSCON 2005 presentation.