I’ve just stumbled upon this, which seems to contain some very interesting speculations as to Google’s future plans.
They all strengthen my point about in my previous post that Gmail IDs are a Passport like system for authentication and they will be used throughout current and future services. They are already being used in most of Google’s personalization sites.
Another thing the link I started with talks about is the fact that Google Talk is also more about managing your contacts and you can see that the integration with Gmail and its Contacts into Google Talk also adds to the fact they it is heading to a more centralized authentication system.
I will not be surprised if they will join Project Liberty, or even worse, start their own initiative.
I don’t mind having a single authentication system but I don’t want it centralized in one place. I would rather have it decentralized like the DNS system or like Jabber and the XMPP specs are. Heck, even the fact that Linux is not controlled by a single vendor is one of the things that make it very compelling to a lot of organizations and people. The fact that you can switch between two distributions is very important to businesses as well as the fact that it generates a positive competition conditions that are all good for the customer.
Don’t forget that one of the few things that killed Microsoft’s Passport true vision and Microsoft’s Hailstorm project was the fact that no one wants to have all of its information stored in one vendor’s system and if Google are indeed going in that direction they will stumble upon the same issues that killed Microsoft’s projects.