Twitter's OAuth interface is now open to all developers, enabling more secure access to the service via its application programming interface from third-party Web sites. Alex Payne, Twitter's API leader, made the announcement in--what else--a tweet Monday.
OAuth is an open standard for online authentication. It enables a user who stores information such as a password on a particular Web site to then authorize yet another site to access that data, all the while not sharing the user's identity with that site. Twitter OAuth had been offered to some developers in a closed beta a few weeks ago, according to Twitter's OAuth FAQ.
On its Web site, OAuth is likened to a valet key given to a parking attendant--the key only allows access to, say, drive the car, but doesn't enable the trunk to be opened. "You give someone limited access to your car with a special key, while using your regular key to unlock everything...While OpenID is all about using a single identity to sign into many sites, OAuth is about giving access to your stuff without sharing your identity at all (or its secret parts)."
In June, Google announced OAuth support for sharing data through its Google Data interface, then some months later said it would also adopt the standard for widget platform Google Gadgets.