Microsoft plans to allow users to manage their passwords and identities across multiple websites. The company is set to include technology in both Windows XP and in the forthcoming Vista.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates discussed Microsoft's plans for the technology, code-named InfoCard, during a keynote at the RSA Conference 2006 in San Jose, California. The technology acts as a "wallet" where users can store the identity and password information for how they would like to be identified on various websites, said Michael Stephenson, Microsoft's director of product management for identity and access.

Using InfoCard will eliminate the need for users to remember multiple identities and passwords for websites with which they do business, he said. It also will help them manage what information is provided across those sites.

Companies have been trying to solve the problem of managing authentication and identities across multiple websites as e-commerce, online banking and other online business has become increasingly pervasive.

Microsoft users will see InfoCard in the control panels of Windows Vista and also in Windows XP, as well as in Internet Explorer 7, which the company plans to offer for both versions of the OS.

InfoCard also must be supported on a website in order for a Windows user to take advantage of it, Stephenson said. Microsoft plans to include the technology as a part of WinFX, the programming model for Windows Vista, so developers can use the technology in Web-site development, he said.

Additionally, Microsoft Tuesday released a developer resource kit for InfoCard that can be used in conjunction with the test preview of Windows Vista that was released in September.