IBM, Google, Microsoft, Verisign and Yahoo have joined the corporate board of the OpenID Foundation, giving a boost to the group's efforts to simplify the process of signing into websites.

The OpenID framework allows people to use a single user name and password to sign into sites that support it.

More than 10,000 websites 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 websites 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.

Another statement on the foundation's website went into further detail on what the new alliances could mean.

"In 2008, we can expect to see a larger focus on making OpenID even more accessible to a mainstream audience, the development of a worldwide trademark usage policy (much like the Jabber Foundation and Mozilla have done), and a larger international focus on working with the OpenID communities in Asia and Europe," it read.

Beyond sign-on, various efforts are underway to standardise how personal data can be moved around the Web. The Dataportability Workgroup wants to broaden the scope of portable data to things like user-created photos and videos.