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What is the technical mechanism for this feature exactly?

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It's called Open ID and has been around for some time. It's a method where authentication sources can securely share authenticated/not-authenticated data with relying parties. Sites like StackExchange use this so they don't have to run authentication services themselves, and can let the bigger parties handle that.

Google and Yahoo both support Open ID.

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  • 'so they don't have to run authentication services themselves' ... of course we are also an OpenID provider now ... :) – Zypher Jul 25 '13 at 22:46
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    @Zypher Yeah but that's new. When y'all were a scrappy startup, you didn't have one. – sysadmin1138 Jul 25 '13 at 23:11
  • After using my Yahoo to login to unix.stackexchange for the first time, I am getting a lot of email sent/spoofed from my yahoo address. – user160910 Jul 26 '13 at 15:44

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