[Baypiggies] Google app engine /google app account for baypiggies.net ?

Alex Martelli aleax at google.com
Thu Jul 15 08:40:23 CEST 2010

On Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 2:29 PM, Tony Cappellini <tony at tcapp.com> wrote:
>> >>baypiggies.net require a Google login (I know I'm not the only person
>> >> who
>> >>avoids Google logins).
> What are the ***technical reasons *** for this? What's wrong with a Google
> login?

If you don't use it for anything else, it's one more login that you
have to make (and you don't really want to reuse passwords so that if
one of your accounts get broken into, all crumble -- you want a
password per account of any importance, so the memorization hassle
grows faster than O(N)).

If you DO use a google account for something else (say work-related,
like, for me, the one I'm currently writing from), and you want to
keep your activities on a certain GAE site totally uncorrelated from
your work (perfectly sensible, depending on the nature of your work
and the other site's), then you typically can't be conveniently logged
in to sites requiring both accounts in the same browser (unless you
use something like a Chrome's incognito window -- but then you'll have
to be re-logging-in each and every time you open such a window, since
by design it doesn't keep/use cookies across windows or sessions).  If
you really like one browser much more than all others (maybe you've
customized it with tons of extensions, etc), that's annoying (Chrome's
incognito mode also turns extensions off by default to help protect
the privacy you're presumably seeking when you go incognito...).

Not sure if you consider these "technical" issues -- they're "user
experience / human factors" issues (an idealized human with perfect
memory for unbounded amounts of userids and passwords for each and
every site / use, and effortlessy able to keep a few browsers open and
updated with extensions &c, wouldn't even notice them -- that's the
guy engineers like me typically design for, I guess, 'cuz we're the
"technical issues" guys, as opposed to the UI/UX guys who are the
softie/feelie ones;-).  [[Note: "guy" and "guys" used in strictly
gender-neutral senses here]].

It goes without saying that I'm not prompted to realize and express
these obvious (if possibly "non technical";-) issues by any dislike of
Google -- just the same would apply if you substituted in lieu of
"google" any other supplier of identity/authentication credentials
(and sites which insist on have you register with them specifically
with new credentials -- the most common blight on the web! -- are
worse, as they multiply the first problem, the endless proliferation
of credentials, exponentially).  What _I_ would like is a web where
every site acepts openid and oauth credentials _and_ lets you (if you
prefer) register specifically with it, in which case the site can (at
your request) *supply* openid and oauth credentials to other sites.
So, you'd choose a number of appropriate sites to register as many
"personas" as you wish, and login into any other site with the
credentials of the appropriate persona for that site / your use of
that site.

Yeah, I know, utopia.  But meanwhile there's nothing stopping any GAE
app from behaving like this (well, supplying credentials takes a
smidgeon more work, but accepting them is trivial, see my previous
mail about tipfy).  BTW, as a UI for accepting open credentials, I
recommend copying that of the stack exchange sites (such as
stackoverflow.com) -- *really* simple and intuitive (well, that's
IMHO, and I'm hardly a UI expert, admittedly;-).


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