In case you haven’t heard, there is now another way to sign into apps and websites. Yep, Google has stepped in with Google+ sign in to make it easier to use services online without giving up your email address. Yes, okay, so there are already hundreds of websites that make use of your general Google account sign in, but Google’s pushing the social element and added features with this new development.
According to the search giant, the new sign in options will be rolling out across 10 partners’ apps to start with — including The Guardian, Fitbit, Fancy, USA Today, Shazam and Open Table — and will allow users increased control over sharing to their Google+ profiles. They’ll be able to adjust who sees what by selectively sharing posts from the app with specific circles, or blocking them entirely, and will be able to remove authorised apps from a centralised page on Google+ and a mobile app. It’s a bit more selective than he options you get with Facebook connect (‘public’, ‘friends’, and ‘only me’ aren’t as niche as the custom circles you can set up), which should please those who fear apps that post unwanted game scores and spam on their profiles.
The sign in also features a built-in mobile component: when you sign in using an account that’s linked with an Android device, you’ll be asked if you want to install the accompanying mobile app. One click, and the app will start automatically downloading to your ‘droid: good news for developers who want to increase the cross-over from web to mobile.
The apps making use of Google+ sign in will also benefit from extended functionality within Google+ itself, as a user’s followers will be able to interact with a post. They will be able to enter the app directly to access what’s been shared and add their own reviews, listen to a song and easily purchase an item, directly from the Google+ site or mobile app.
While there are alternatives out there that do similar things (Twitter logins and Facebook connect are two of the most popular social options), the level of interactive integration and the link to mobile makes this an interesting move — especially considering that the Google+ community is growing: at last count, it had over 500-million users, 235-million of which actively use features like +1-ing and Gmail hangouts and around 135-million of whom engage with the Google Plus app and dedicated site.