Google is taking a lesson from Facebook and Twitter and offering users the ability to sign into websites via their Google+ account rather than having to go to the thirty second hassle of setting up a username and password. The question is, will developers bother to integrate it and even if they do, will users care? Facebook Connect and Twitter Authentication hit the scene last year. Is Google+ Sign In raising the bar or is it yet another example of Google offering too little too late in social.
Google + Pro’s
- Security – Google has a better reputation for security than Facebook and Twitter, particularly with two step verification. Google+ Sign In will therefore appeal to those with concerns over the security of social sign-in.
- Selective sharing – you don’t necessarily want to share everything with everyone all of the time. Google+ allows you to choose what information from these web and mobile apps is shared and with whom.
- One click mobile install – Android users will be able to install mobile apps with just one extra click.
So, if you have a G+ account and are looking for convenience, security and privacy, it’s all looking pretty promising. However…
Google + Cons
- Limited social benefit – there’s just the one but it’s a monster. There may be 343 million “active” G+ accounts, but as most of these “active” accounts are remarkably inactive, the web or mobile app in question will enjoy very limited data with which to automatically populate user profiles or fine tune their experience. Furthermore, the friends of these users are unlikely to be on G+ frequently enough to even notice their buddies app activity. In short, this will be social sign-in at its least social.
If you want ease and security (and many do) then Google + Sign In seems like a pretty solid option. If, however, you want it as a means of integrating your social experiences with your broader online activity then it’s difficult to see the attraction. And even if that’s not your priority it’s likely to be the priority of the website in question as they hanker for an ever-greater audience, so the likelihood of widespread adoption by developers is itself highly doubtful.
So, what went wrong with Google +?
Since writing this blog, Google + failed. There are a number of reasons for this.
- It was late to the party, as I mentioned – meaning the market was already saturated
- It wanted to share everything – but its users didn’t feel the same way
- Simple tasks like sharing photos were unnecessarily complex
- The platform felt more like an interface for Google employees
Worryingly, average session times skated around the 5-second mark – at which point the proverbial writing was on the wall.
Ultimately technology must be effectively married with a great concept while catering to user’s want and needs.
Google + failed because it failed to understand these three basic tenets of social media.