Google and Facebook have announced the availability of competing authentication systems that enable Internet users to sign in to third-party Web sites using either their Facebook or Google Account login details.
Google, likely in reaction to the official rollout of Facebook Connect, has opened up its universal log-in system, Google Friend Connect. Journalists on Thursday received a hurried e-mail saying, “Starting today, any website owner is welcome to add Friend Connect to his or her website — no need to be whitelisted. We’ll be posting on the Official Google Blog soon with additional details.”
As with Facebook Connect, the advantage to users on Friend Connect sites is that they can register using a log-in that they’re comfortable with and probably use every day–their Google or GMail ID and password.
Friend Connect appears somewhat easier and more straightforward to implement than Facebook Connect. Also, Friend Connect is linked to Open Social. “Any website that implements Friend Connect becomes an OpenSocial container, capable of running OpenSocial applications,” the e-mail said.
Friend Connect can also update social services like Orkut and Plaxo, but nothing with the size of Facebook’s network.
From the Wall Street Journal:
Facebook Inc. is taking a big step toward linking its social network with entertainment, media and other Web sites as the Internet company seeks new ways to accelerate its growth.
The Palo Alto, Calif., start-up Thursday announced the general availability of its Facebook Connect service. The previously announced service allows Web sites to let Facebook users log into their sites with Facebook accounts, eliminating the need for users to establish multiple log-ins and profiles for multiple sites. Consumers can then share the personal information they store on Facebook, such as updates about their activities, with other sites for a more personalized experience.
Facebook has been testing the new service for months. It is one of several that is trying to make it easier for people to share personal data across a variety of sites. MySpace.com, owned by Wall Street Journal owner News Corp., has launched a similar service, and Google Inc. on Thursday announced the general availability of a service called Friend Connect, which has a similar aim.