Microsoft is getting ready to provide an early peek at new Windows software that aims to help consumers deal with the plethora of Internet logins.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant plans to release a technical preview of the software, code-named InfoCard, by the end of May, Microsoft said. It will also include other technologies designed to make using digital identities easier and safer, Microsoft’s senior executive in charge of security, Mike Nash, said Tuesday.
InfoCard will be the most visible of Microsoft’s efforts to PC users. It is designed to provide secure storage for identity information that will be shared with online services such as Web stores.
The plans are reminiscent of Microsoft’s largely failed efforts with Passport, a single sign-on service it unveiled in 1999. InfoCard is a new attempt, one that could address the complaint many critics had with Passport, which was that people’s information was managed by Microsoft instead of by the users themselves and the businesses they dealt with.
InfoCard holds payment authorization and details in the same way that a wallet holds credit cards, according to the software maker. “It makes it supereasy for the end user to pick among their different kinds of credentials,” Shewchuk said.
With InfoCard, the online buying experience would change. When a user buys a book online, for example, the Web store would ping the user’s InfoCard application on the user’s PC for payment. The user then authorizes payment, which is routed to the applicable financial institution. The bookstore does not need to know the user’s credit card number or financial data.