Shannon Clark, on his Slow Brand blog, presents the idea of a LinkedIn Connect, which would enable users to authenticate and share certain approved information from their LinkedIn presence on third-party sites. He writes, “Why isn’t LinkedIn looking to be the Identity layer for not just a few applications running inside of LinkedIn or a very small handful of LinkedIn Partners, but instead to offer a strong, business focused identity layer for 1000?s of business applications across the Internet?” Great question that merited some cycles.
Here’s the post, with my thoughts below. A good thread with some technical discussion, but understandable for non-techies, too.
Shannon, intriguing idea, and a totally natural one. I’ll qualify my remarks by saying that I work with very conservative enterprise execs, not startup leaders so much. The former are pretty uncomfortable with perceived loss of privacy or control, and they usually don’t understand the nuances of single sign-on, inheritance, etc.
LinkedIn is struggling to get them to have more value-added interaction ON the site, so it would in my opinion be a potential distraction to enable off-site interaction. That said, I could see them enabling a quasi-private network of trusted partners, but it would have to smell *very* different than, say, Facebook Connect or Google FriendConnect. I’d be surprised if it weren’t in the pipeline somewhere.
[Facebook Connect and Google FriendConnect are mysterious to most executives and mainstream business users, who don’t understand the technical nuances of “Web 2.0 single sign-on,” in which people can “log in” to third party sites using Facebook, Twitter, Google, OpenID or other credentials. Mainstream users are often mystified and spooked out by privacy concerns. More on this here.]