IBM, Google, Microsoft, Verisign and Yahoo have joined the corporate board of the OpenID Foundation, boosting to the group's efforts to simplify the process of customers signing into web sites.

The OpenID framework allows people to use a single user name and password to sign into web sites that support OpenID. For organisations the benefits include elimination of the need for multiple user names and passwords for all the different e-commerce website that a user will transact with, which will simplify web usage. A variety of OpenID providers are available for the customer to choose from. CIOs benefit from OpenID as their organisation should see a lowering of the cost of password and account management.

More than 10,000 web sites now support OpenID log-ins, according to the foundation. Last month, Yahoo announced its 248 million active registered users could begin using their handle and password to login to non-Yahoo web sites that support the OpenID 2.0 framework.

The closer links between OpenID and these major vendors is sure to help the foundation's effort, according to its executive director, Bill Washburn. "The community has clearly expanded since the inception of the Foundation and these companies will help bring OpenID into the mainstream markets," he said in a statement.

"In 2008, we can expect to see a larger focus on making OpenID even more accessible to a mainstream audience, the development of a World-wide trademark usage policy, and a larger international focus on working with the OpenID communities in Asia and Europe," the Foundation said.

Beyond sign-on, various efforts are underway to standardise how personal data can be moved around the web.