Google Taunts Facebook With Sign-In Challenge - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Government // Mobile & Wireless
News
2/26/2013
01:44 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Google Taunts Facebook With Sign-In Challenge

Google+ Sign-In aspires to be Facebook Login, but without the alleged spamming.

10 Social Networks For Special Interests
10 Social Networks For Special Interests
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Picking up where it left off with its Friend Connect service, Google has launched Google+ Sign-In, a way to use Google+ credentials to log into third-party websites and mobile apps.

Google introduced Friend Connect in late 2008, just as Facebook debuted Facebook Connect. Both companies were vying to become the default authentication layer for the Web, something Microsoft has been trying to do at least since its 2007 release of Windows Live ID Web Authentication SDK (now called simply Microsoft Account).

Facebook won, notwithstanding the recent bug that crashed websites using its authentication system. Facebook Connect went on to be re-branded Facebook Login and handles authentication for some 9 million websites and mobile apps. Google shut down Friend Connect in March 2012 as it shifted focus to Google+ services.

[ How do you measure user interaction in social media? Read Are Universal Social Engagement Standards Possible? ]

Now that Google has rehabilitated its social spine -- as the company sometimes refers to Google+ -- it is ready for a rematch against Facebook Login. As of December 2012, Google claimed that 500 million people have registered for Google+, that 235 million people interact with the service indirectly through +1 buttons and connecting with friends in Search and that 135 million engage with Google+ content streams (posts).

Google's effort to become an essential authentication provider isn't just about establishing legitimacy as a social gatekeeper. It's about revenue and customer relationships, because credit card and shipping data tends to end up being associated with identity data. It's about competing with other platform players -- like Apple, which had over 400 million iTunes Accounts last year and as of January had more than 250 million iCloud users; and Amazon, which has over 152 million active customer accounts.

But there's no mistaking Google's intention to challenge Facebook in particular. In a blog post, Seth Sternberg, director of product management for Google+, makes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's conceit of "frictionless sharing" sound like a bad encounter with a skunk.

"With Google+ Sign-In and circles you decide who to share with, if at all," Sternberg said. "In addition, Google+ doesn't let apps spray 'frictionless' updates all over the stream, so app activity will only appear when it's relevant -- like when you're actually looking for it."

Google's promise, then, is that Google+ provides more control over how content is shared, thereby creating less unwelcomed sharing, which some users consider spam.

For developers, Google+ Sign-In, like Facebook Login, provides both advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, using Google+ Sign-In is likely to be easier than coding a custom authentication system and is probably more secure. Google is also making it easier to install Android apps from websites that include Google+ Sign-In. Downloading an Android app from Google Play to an Android device now can be initiated through a publisher's website with a single click.

On the minus side, three's a crowd when it comes to business relationships. Developers who abstain from engaging with customers allow Google to consummate that relationship. Not only does this make developers more beholden to Google (or Facebook), it can also work against them: If customers aren't comfortable with the privacy practices of the authentication provider, they may decline to use the developer's software or service.

In short, developers should think carefully about whether implementing Google+ Sign-In signs away too much.

Attend Interop Las Vegas, May 6-10, and attend the most thorough training on Apple Deployment at the NEW Mac & iOS IT Conference. Use Priority Code DIPR02 by March 2 to save up to $500 off the price of Conference Passes. Join us in Las Vegas for access to 125+ workshops and conference classes, 350+ exhibiting companies, and the latest technology. Register for Interop today!

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Slideshows
What Digital Transformation Is (And Isn't)
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/4/2019
Commentary
Watch Out for New Barriers to Faster Software Development
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  12/3/2019
Commentary
If DevOps Is So Awesome, Why Is Your Initiative Failing?
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  12/2/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll