When using Google for your OpenId provider, it generates a different openid url for each website you use with it. This means that for stackoverflow.com, meta.stackoverflow.com, superuser.com and serverfault.com you will have 4 different openids.

Currently you can have an main and an alternate openid - should the system support as many openids as there are sites in the stackoverflow family?

  • 8
    Sounds like Google is missing the point of OpenID...
    – JIP
    Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 8:43
  • 3
    @J-P Yes, Google (and certain Yahoo!) OpenIds have made our lives more difficult. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 9:07
  • 10
    First surviving question on Meta. Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 2:54

4 Answers 4


I don't think this is the right solution.

The problem is that certain OpenID providers (most notably, Google, and often Yahoo unless you have set up a named OpenID) use per-domain hashes as their OpenID strings.





This means it is effectively impossible to identify anyone on two different sites using their OpenID, if they choose a provider that uses this same strategy.

We could add 50 different OpenIDs per user, but

  1. I don't want to force users to have multiple OpenIDs for our convenience.
  2. Even if you do, you're avoiding the real core problem: what are viable ways to identify the "same" user on two websites, when the user only uses a Google OpenID?

update: we now have a reasonable workaround in place, which is to demand email from Google GMail OpenIDs.

update: I changed my mind and support this due to the proliferation of email addresses, since email = identity. You can now have an unlimited # of credentials (email or URL) associated with your account at the network level.

  • 3
    Google's implementation somewhat defeats the idea of OpenID being about identity - it's solving authorization, but breaking identification.
    – Cade Roux
    Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 15:35
  • Google's per-domain hash issue when ServerFault was launched led me to set up my own OpenID provider through myopenid.com, which I have found to be a lot easier than Google. Hopefully someone can use SO as an example to Google why this should be changed/fixed. Commented Jun 28, 2009 at 17:54
  • Then do we have a way to change our open ID provider without losing our hard won rep?
    – Oorang
    Commented Jun 29, 2009 at 7:58
  • 2
    Have a special domain: login.stackexchange.com. Tunnel all OpenID requests through that domain. The hash will be for login.stackexchangecom all the time.
    – deleted
    Commented Oct 23, 2009 at 0:45

If I were making the decisions I would allow an arbitrary number of accounts, though that is probably because I program mostly in Perl where arrays are never bounded.


I think it is a good think that sites can't aggregate my presence without my explicit permission (or at least a little bit of work).

That said I'm sure with a few redirects and some token passing amongst the sites different accounts could be linked quite easily on the SO/SF/SU end.


Why not allow more than 2 openids per account? What does it have to do with google anyway?

OpenID does not mean "one single id per user on the web", some users have multiple (more than 2) openid providers - and it would be nice to login using any one of them.

Also, if a user account is shared across sites (so/sf/su), or will be shared at some point in the future, then by allowing to login using any openid provider registered with this account solves this google-openid problem.

  • Google is the largest provider of openIDs (every google account has one now) but it does so in ways that break the whole purpose of openID: your id is not shared across sites and you can't log in to google using openID.
    – Macha
    Commented Jul 30, 2009 at 1:00

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