You can now use Information Cards at Hotmail and all the other MSN/Windows Live sites.
Just go here to associate an Information Card with your existing account. I found that both Windows CardSpace and the Mac DigitalMe information card selectors worked beautifully with the system. Check out this video to see what it was like registering and logging in from my Mac using DigitalMe.
It's worth taking a step back to think about what can go wrong when you add a feature of this importance to a site with 300 million accounts. If things don't work, you don't have a software bug – you have a trainwreck. So the Windows Live people have done a lot of thinking, planning and testing in order both to create a cool experience and keep from confusing their users.
There are still some anomolies. In the words of the Beta announcement:
Once youâ€™ve added an Information Card to your Live ID account, sign in using the Information Card. You will be amazed at how easy it is! BTW, Windows Live ID CardSpace support is still a â€œBetaâ€. We are still working on it and know a bunch of things that could be better. But do let us know your wish list; it is always good to get feedback.
Small quirks aside, when I decided to make a video of the Beta experience that I could share with you, I became progressively more amazed at what a good job the Live ID folks have actually done in dealing with the “hard issues”. That in turn can be leveraged by other sites working on InfoCard support. The big takeaway: the folks at Live ID have proven that the Information Card technology can work at a giant scale.
This really is a step forward for the metasystem. A number of industry people have asked me, “If Microsoft supports the metasystem so much, why isn't MSN adopting Information Cards and interoperable protocols?” Well, it has been doing so, and the process is now starting to come to fruition.
It takes time to build good products. It takes time to make sure they're secure. The Windows Live InfoCard support is part of a wide spectrum of actions we are taking to ensure that “everything connects to everything” both within and across platforms.
Here is more info from the Beta announcement:
Windows Live ID adds Beta support for Information Cards with Windows CardSpace!
Windows CardSpace is a new way to sign in securely and conveniently into websites. And now you can use CardSpace with your Windows Live ID account! Using CardSpace with Windows Live ID means you donâ€™t use a password to sign-in. Instead, just send your Information Card to Live ID to identify you and get signed into Hotmail, Windows Live Spaces or any other site that accepts Windows Live ID. And it is incredibly easy to use CardSpace with your Live ID. Just follow this link (here) to get going in minutes!
If you are using Windows Vista, you are all ready to use CardSpace! If you are on Windows XP or Windows 2003, you will need to get IE 7.0, our newest and coolest browser and .Net 3.0 with CardSpace support (if you donâ€™t already have them). You will also need to add an Information Card to your Live ID account. To install these components and add an Information Card to your Live ID account, visit the Windows Live ID Information Card management page. Also go to that page to make changes to the Information Card added to your Live ID account…
Nayna Mutha, Program Manager – LiveID
Rob Franco, Lead Program Manager – Windows CardSpace