You know how many of your favorite Android games let you sign in with a Facebook account? You know many times that sign-in leads to spammy wall posts or clutter in your news feed? Google today announced something similar with Google+ sign-in, however there’s nary a trace of that added junk. Today, Google debuts its Facebook Login and Open Graph killer.

Google+ Sign-In lets users sign in to your Android app with their existing Google credentials, and bring along their Google+ info for an upgraded experience. In addition to basic authentication, today’s release includes features that can accelerate both app downloads and engagement.

Now, instead of asking you to log-in with Facebook or create an account, you can bring your Google+ profile along for the ride. Once tied to the app, your credentials are synchronized and you’re off and running. A number of developers have already been using this feature, including Fancy, Flixter, OpenTable, Shazam, and USAToday.

So what about all the times you log in with an app and favorite a song, station or movie? Will that show up for all of your circles? Only if you want it to. You can customize who sees what and how often.

Users’ app activities will only be visible to the Google+ circles they specify (if any), and they’ll only appear when they’re relevant. Putting users in control, and not spraying their stream builds trust in your app, and encourages meaningful sharing.

Another great feature is that users will find that many websites can lead to a seamless and even more better expression. Log in with your Google+ account on one of these websites and you’ll be asked if you’d like to install the Android app – instantly.

It’s pretty obvious that this move will lead to more Google+ adoption and peel away at Facebook’s strangle on social login. This is an uphill battle, sure, but Google is positioning themselves quite nicely. I don’t know about you but I really enjoy a simple login experience. Conversely, I cannot stand how many apps and games tell me that my friends just got a new high score or that they just listened to a specific song.  Here’s to Google doing it right.


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  1. You’ve been able to log in to sites/apps with Google forever.

    I am excited that they’re making it possible to post to your stream with that login, though. Very nice.

    Also, the fact that you can select which circles the post should go to is not unique. Facebook has done that for a while now. When you log in to a site/app with Facebook, you can choose which Friend Lists, if any, you want to see the posts. So this is nothing new. Just Google+ finally catching up. It’s probably too late for this to make a difference, sadly.

    • This is not completely correct. On Facebook you can choose a default grouping of friends for postings, which is what all apps will then follow. In addition, the app gets to control what permissions they want. If you don’t agree to the permissions requested, the developer can deny you use of the app. Google+ sign-in by contrast puts more power in the hands of the app user. It allows you to specify if an app is able to share, and with whom. The direct tie-in with Google Play is a big advantage as well, and is just the beginning. Look for this to eventually expand to tie-ins with Google Drive (with Docs), Calendar, Maps, etc. All of this is something that Facebook cannot provide.

      • You apparently haven’t been paying attention, or haven’t used any site/app that uses Facebook Connect for the past year, so let me provide a screenshot.

        As you can see from the screenshot below, when you use Facebook Connect to sign into a website (or app), you’re given the option to choose which Friends Lists any posts that THAT PARTICULAR APP generates, or choose “Only Me” which is what I normally choose.

        When you set the “default” one the you mentioned, that’s the option that’s pre-selected when this dialog comes up, but you are free to change it.

        The app, as you can see, doesn’t get to control who sees what they share, I do.

        • You are correct on that point. You didn’t address any of my other points though. If you look at the app request you posted, you will also notice that you have no choice at all on the permissions the app is granted…unless the developer decides to give you a choice on some of them. Some do, but the overwhelming majority do not. If you don’t agree with the permissions, too bad…you can’t use the app.

          Google, on the other hand, not only gives you the ability to decide what the APP sees, but makes it easy for you to manage. All devices that support the Google Play Store now have an app that enables users to directly manage their Google+ sign-in info, including Admob use and what permissions to grant apps. You can even choose which circles the app can see as your friends (or none at all if that is your preference). AFAIC, the ability to control what the APP sees is far more important than what your friends see. Only Google+ is currently providing control over BOTH. Facebook does not.

          • If I had clicked “Go To App” from that dialog box I posted, I would be taken to a specific list of permissions that the app is requesting. From there, I can select or deselect any of the individual permissions. In other words, I can choose exactly what the app sees. It doesn’t give you such finely grained controls as to choose which Friends Lists the app can see, but I have yet to see any information that suggests that you can do that with Google+ Sign-in. I didn’t see that in any of the videos above, or any of the many developer documents that I read from Google. Please show me where I missed it, if indeed I did simply miss that.

            Also, you are correct that an app can refuse to let you use the app if you refuse to grant it a particular permission for Facebook, but I fail to see how an app using Google+ sign-in couldn’t do exactly the same thing.

          • If you had gone to your Google Settings app on any Android device you would see the link that tells you this right there. From within this app you can manage your apps, disable permissions, manage your password, disable Admob ad personalization, control almost all Google app settings, and more. Again, Facebook doesn’t allow this much control.

            You can also go to their website that explains all Google+ sign-in gives you control over.

          • Interesting. When did that “Google Settings” app appear? I’m pretty sure I never noticed it there before.

            And that is very nice that it lets you control exactly which Circles the app can see. I don’t see it as a really big deal, personally, but I understand why some people would, and I think it’s great that Google did that.

            Although if you hadn’t told me that, it would’ve been a while until I stumbled upon the “Google Settings” app and figured that out for myself. I wouldn’t exactly call that “easy to manage” if you don’t know it’s even manageable. I’m not saying Facebook makes it easier (they most certainly don’t), but it would’ve been nice for a little tutorial or something to appear whenever they added that feature. Facebook has done that many times in the past.

          • They are. It’s not public knowledge yet though, because it is still rolling out to all Play Store enabled devices. There is no way they can do this all at once. That being said, I agree that they can do a better job of publicizing their advancements. Google has never been good at marketing themselves…they usually let the products speak for themselves.

            I actually think this eventually will cause more people to use Google+. Facebook should be a little worried. Not for the immediate future, but long-term.

          • I hope you’re right that it will encourage use of Google+, but I’m very skeptical that it will. A lot of people have said that such-and-such feature on Google+ will have people leaving Facebook for it in droves, but it hasn’t happened yet. I like Google+ a lot more than Facebook, but I’m afraid that it’s just late to the game on a lot of things.

            Just look at how long it took them to get this feature. Less time than it took Facebook for sure, but Facebook Connect has been around for a while now. I appreciate that they didn’t release the feature half-baked, but they always look (not necessarily to me, but to most people) like they’re just trying to play catch-up, and can’t quite do it.

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