Google offers social log-in feature

February 26, 2013

Google is increasing the rivalry between its Google+ network and Facebook, announcing Tuesday that it is introducing its own social log-in feature.

Many Web sites let Facebook and Twitter users sign into their sites with the username and password from the social network. Now Google has made some partnerships that allows its Google+ users to do the same. OpenTable, FitBit, USA Today and the Guardian are among the feature’s launch partners.

Log-in security features, such as two-factor authentication, can be carried over when signing into these sites.

The company is also adding in some features that allow those signed into an app through their Google+ account to share information with certain friends on the network using its built-in “Circle” friend groups. That means that you can opt to only share workout data with your exercise buddy or the tracks you’ve listened to with people who won’t make fun of your musical tastes.

In a blog post outlining the new features, Google product director Seth Sternberg took direct aim at the automatic sharing features implemented by Facebook, calling it “social spam.”

“Google+ doesn’t let apps spray ‘frictionless’ updates all over the stream, so app activity will only appear when it’s relevant,” Sternberg wrote.

Once users have shared content, Google said, the company is also offering different ways for your friends to interact with the content. For example, when your friends click on a song you’ve shared, they’ll hear the song in the app from which you shared it. Friends will also be able to buy goods and services this way, the company said.

Finally, in an effort that may also help Google boost downloads to its mobile devices, users who sign into a Web site with Google will also have the option to install its corresponding mobile app on Android devices.

(The Washington Post Co.’s chairman and chief executive, Donald E. Graham, is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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