It feels like it’s on every website: you can either “create an account” or “log in with Facebook.”
While it’s nice to log into a site with just a click or two, there are side effects. Some sites then populate your stream with articles you’ve read or music you’ve listened to or movies you enjoyed. This is known as “frictionless sharing.”
Google+ is stepping into the game in an attempt to compete with Facebook’s log in protocol, and decrease unwanted sharing.
They break it down in the Google+ developers blog.
Today we’re adding a new feature to the Google+ platform: application sign-in. Whether you’re building an app for Android, iOS or the web, users can now sign in to your app with Google, and bring along their Google+ info for an upgraded experience. It’s simple, it’s secure, and it prohibits social spam. And we’re just getting started.
Will this become a valid competitor to Facebook log in? Thomas Clayburn of Information Week warns developers of getting into bed with sites like Google+ and Facebook.
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.
Owen Thomas at Business Insider thinks it might be too late.
Facebook, well aware of the problems frictionless sharing presented, has pulled back considerably on the idea. Frictionless sharing is basically dead, with both Facebook and app developers having moved on to more subtle ways of encouraging users to share updates.
So it’s great that Google thinks it can improve on sharing app activity. But the truth is, its slap is coming a year and a half too late.
Of course, most people believed that Google+ itself arrived too late, but in just a short time it has over 500 million users, so it’s hard to know what impact this new sign in will have. I do know, however, if given the choice I personally would be far more likely to sign in with Google+ than Facebook. How about you?