Recently Google has come under fire in the blogoshpere for disallowing links to commenters who have blogs outside of the Blogger platform. Now Googles Blogger uses OpenID to allow links to a commenters site on any platform.
According to the folks at Blogger this was a mistake. Blogger was in the process of implementing something called OpenID and they prematurely took away the ability for commenters to link to their non-Blogger sites. Here is the apology from Googles Blogger Buzz:
The Other URL field
Right now, the only way to add a URL to your name when commenting is to sign your comment with OpenID. We apologize for removing the URL field from the comments form prematurely two weeks ago. That was a mistake on our part that came from launching OpenID support on Blogger in draft.
Ironically, our testing of OpenID, a feature that lets you use accounts from all over the web to comment on Blogger, made it appear that we were trying to force you into getting a Google Account. We regret this appearance, since were strong supporters of OpenID and open web standards in general.
If you havent set up OpenID, you can still link to your blog — or any webpage, for that matter — by using the standard tag inside the comment form.
So – What is this Google Blogger OpenID?
This is a service that you must sign up for and thereby get an OpenID. The purpose of all this is to make sure that you really are who you say you are. The effect of using OpenID on Googles Blogger will be to reduce comment spam. But OpenID is confusing for some of us to implement.
If your blog is hosted by one of the following services, WordPress.com, LiveJournal, and AOL Journals, then you can easily leave comments on a Google Blogger blog with your blogs URL because these services already use OpenID.
But if you have a self hosted WordPress blog, then you will have to sign up for an OpenID and then add two lines of code to your own blogs head section. You can then start to leave comments on other peoples Google Blogger blogs and have those comments link back to your blog. It is a complicated rigmarole to go through for the simple privilege of commenting with a link (and not necessarily a Do Follow link) back to your web page.
Sam Ruby wrote a most execellent article entitled OpenID for Non-SuperUsers where he describes the OpenID service in more detail. He also provides the following code to put in your blogs head section to enable commenting on Googles Blogger using OpenID:
If you have an OpenID identity and a blog, then follow these instructions. If you don’t have an OpenID identity, you can get one for free at MyOpenID. Here’s mine.
Given such an identity, copy the following into the head section of your weblog, adjusting the two URIs as appropriate:
That’s pretty much it. What this says is that the web page in question is owned by the owner of http://samruby.myopenid.com/ and furthermore http://www.myopenid.com/server may be used to verify ownership of http://samruby.myopenid.com/.
Of course, when using the above code you would replace Sams OpenID with your own OpenID.
The capabilities of OpenID stretch far beyond the task of commenting on Googles Blogger Blogs. As more companies and services embrace OpenID its strength will grow. But for the non-techies, muddling through the OpenID signup and altering your blog template seems to be a poor use of precious time.
After signing up for OpenID and putting the code in my blog, I put it to use. I left comments on a few Google Blogger blogs using OpenID and my name showed up as a link back to my site.