How Google’s social log-in feature can help Google+

March 4, 2013

Google’s decision to let users use their Google+ accounts to log in to other Web sites has the potential to give the company’s social network a major boost.

Patrick Salyer, the chief executive officer of Gigya — a company that providers social log-in services to sites around the Web — said that Google’s move could help boost its membership numbers and allow the company to leverage even more of its data.

Salyer, whose said his company will implement Google’s sign-in feature starting next month, said that the company’s decision could expand its visibility and appeal. Facebook, he said, saw strong growth after implementing its social log-in service, Facebook Connect. While it’s difficult to say whether the company will see the same sort of growth, he said, it certainly won’t hurt to have the network’s name out there.

“It is great really advertising for Google+,” Salyer said, “Google is going to be a really aggressive player in the sign-in world.”

And it won’t just be because Google will have some data on how its users see the Web, Salyer said. For Google, Salyer believes the bigger boon will come from the sharing and other features the company rolled out with its social log-in announcement, which direct users to engage more deeply with the things their friends share.

For example, if users see their friends have posted from an app that uses Google+ credentials, they’re able to listen to that song from the network. If users post a link to an item that’s for sale, their friends can buy it. And if users install a Web application, they have the option to automatically install its mobile counterpart on an Android device.

“That’s a huge, huge deal,” Salyer said. “As you talk to businesss, that have mobile applications, it’s a huge barrier to get [app] downloads. Streamlining that is a huge add for these businesses.”

Growth for Google+ would certainly be a welcome development for the company. Google has taken a lot of teasing about its Google+ social network since the company launched the effort to take on the social media world in 2011. Several tech bloggers have taken to calling the network a “ghost town,” referring to the fact that while the network’s numbers are growing, it can seem that only a few, very active users are posting regularly to the site.

The company reported in December that it has 135 million users who actively post to the site, while a total of 235 million users frequently use Google+ features such as video hangouts or the +1 button.

(Washington Post Co. 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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