Five industry giants have joined the board of OpenID Foundation, an open source project that provides centralized credentials that can be used to login at over 10,000 Web sites and the Foundation reports that over 250 million people have created OpenID credentials.

The OpenID technology was originally created in early 2006 and community board members include, Scott Kveton of Vidoop, David Recordon of Six Apart, Dick Hardt of Sxip, Artur Bergman of Wikia, Johannes Ernst of NetMesh, Drummond Reed of Parity and OASIS, as well as Martin Atkins and Bill Washburn.

The Foundation recently announced that DeWitt Clinton of Google, Tony Nadalin of IBM, Michael B. Jones of Microsoft, Gary Krall of VeriSign, and Shreyas Doshi of Yahoo! have joined the Foundation as corporate board members.

In a nutshell, OpenID works through a combination of OpenID providers and end user accounts. Providers store credentials that can be verified when a user supplies those credentials to a site that allows login through OpenID technology. One major stumbling block to more widespread adoption has been propagation of knowledge to both end users and developers.

A spokesperson for the Foundation said, "In the past few months respected bloggers, analysts, and marketers have been writing about how OpenID needs to start being explained clearly, so that it can actually become a mainstream technology. We started this process late last year by cleaning up the website, making it far more accessible and useful to a wider range of people."

"By bringing on these companies and their resources, the OpenID Foundation will now be able to better serve the needs of the entire OpenID community. 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 (much like the Jabber Foundation and Mozilla have done), and a larger international focus on working with the OpenID communities in Asia and Europe."

Last year Microsoft's Kim Cameron said that "Microsoft plans to support OpenID in future Identity server products." The company aims to closely integrate OpenID with its Cardspace technology, formerly named Infocard.