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proliferation of social sign on methods

 
Steve Robillard
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Mark, do you think we will see any consolidation in authorization or continued expansio of social sign on providers and methods? Secondly what use cases would prevent you from making use of the social sign on methods?
 
Mark Hawker
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Hi, Steve.
Steve Robillard wrote:do you think we will see any consolidation in authorization or continued expansio of social sign on providers and methods?

A great question. I would definitely hope to see such a consolidation. Many of the platforms that I touch on already use OAuth as a standard but there is a long way to go. I see these platforms as "plug and play" where you should be building technical architectures which enable users to sign in using any of their social networks accounts. Facebook is, by far, the most widely-used platform but Google Friend Connect and its use of OpenSocial is the most open. Code bases such as Apache Shindig help web sites wishing to become social utilities such as Facebook or LinkedIn utilise these open standards from the ground-up. Supporting the OpenSocial "protocols" means that many applications built for one OpenSocial web site can be ported to another in a short amount of time.

A favourite video of mine is this by Joseph Smarr of Plaxo. If you have a spare hour and a bit it is recommended!

Steve Robillard wrote:what use cases would prevent you from making use of the social sign on methods?

It's probably good-practice to also allow users to register/login using your own mechanisms and allowing them to "tag" these accounts with social profiles. This way you can then link a Facebook etc. account to your own user account identifier. Handling multiple providers can get complex very quickly so wrapping your head around how each authenticates is essential. There is a tension between reducing the burden on handling your own user accounts and using another provider but just remember to always have a fallback! Using social sign on methods bring a multitude of benefits but if a web site isn't focused on posting "updates" or connecting users with their friends it may be that using them introduces unnecessary complexity to a site. However, I would advocate that web sites are "stickier" if they are social and can increase the number of users who serendipitously get to find out about your site!
 
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