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Google+ Sign-in: A Boon for Google Account Management and Site Access

All those sign-in pages with “Login with Facebook” and “Login with Twitter” may soon be accompanied by another social media sign-in button. Google recently launched Google+ Sign-in, which allows users to access websites as well as Android and iOS apps using their Google+ credentials.

Facebook Login and Sign in with Twitter have been around for a long time, and they’ve both provided a more convenient way to access websites, apps, and resources. So, what makes this new Google account management API any better? Continue reading for highlights of the sign-in system’s features with regard to ubiquitous social logins.

Google Sign In

1. More data to measure

When users choose to sign in with Plus, brands can access a myriad of data, to be exact, practically everything in the Google API. This includes the user’s full name, Google+ ID, language, age bracket, and other requested details. Google is one of the most trusted names in email, so that alone lets brands reap so much user/subscriber information.

2. Less social spam

While both G+ and Facebook allow apps to auto-publish app activity like achievements, invites, and statuses, Google gives more control over the Google account activity you can share. Facebook lets you decide if your app activity can be visible publicly, to your friends only, to yourself only, or to people you labeled close friends or family. With Plus, content will only be visible to specific circles that you choose, and circles definitely do a better job at organizing your friends list.

You won’t have to bombard your friends’ newsfeed with posts because it’s easy to exclude friends and followers who might not care about your app.

3. Mobile integration

The feature that makes Google+ Sign-in truly exquisite as a social login service and Google account management tool is its potential for mobile interaction, specifically with Android devices. Once you sign in with G+, websites will be able to detect if you have an Android-powered device. If so, you’ll be asked to download the Android app that comes with the site.

4. Interactive posts

When apps and websites post content on your Plus, your friends will see “Review,” “Buy,” or “Listen” buttons on those posts, enabling them to interact or utilize the same app or website you used.

Implications of the Google Account Management API for Developers

Google has thrown in some game-changing features with this login system, but there are many things you want to be aware of because ultimately, as a website owner or developer, you want users’ Google account activity to increase conversion rates, website traffic, and engagement.

Social media login buttons may accelerate online registration because of how fast users can create an account and log in, so in theory, they’re a better option than the regular registration procedure. However, are people really comfortable using them? Let’s look at some figures and statistics that could support this theory.

A survey from Gigya revealed that:

  • 53% of 2,600 people have logged into a mobile app or website through social login
  • Respondents who used social logins found the top benefits to be: streamlined registration, username and password fatigue alleviation, and social syndication
  • Respondents who didn’t use social media logins cited the following reasons for signing in the old-fashioned way: social posting concerns, data transfer, and uncertainty of how their data is used

The people behind the email marketing management service MailChimp found that:

  • From April 12 to May 12, 2012, their website had 340,591 failed login attempts
  • Within that period, 68,145 users were forced to reset their passwords and 38,137 had to be reminded of their username
  • After installing “Log in with Twitter” and “Log in with Facebook,” there was significantly lesser failed login attempts – from June 12 to July 12, 2012, there were 114,239 login failures (a 66% decrease)

What these numbers say is that there’s a lot of value in social login services, but another point is that can social login buttons hurt brands?

Can Social Logins Do Harm Instead of Good?

Facebook has been getting considerable bad press lately—countless users complain about the content they see in their feeds and a survey from Pew Internet and American Life Project shows 61% of Facebook users have deliberately deactivated their accounts for several weeks. Also, Google’s social network still isn’t exactly a household name despite all of the Google+ and Google account management products and services that have come out.

Developers and Internet marketers have little control over IPOs and APIs of other companies. The point here is that when we place social media buttons in login pages, we may or may not have acquired the bad vibes associated with those social media brands. What visitors see in your pages can affect how they feel about your site’s direction. A website is like a NASCAR race car – the various brand names plastered on your car will contribute to your overall image.

The login form is one of the first things people see on a website after all.

Adding More Decision Points May Lead to Frustration

As you add more sign-in options and change your Facebook, Twitter or Google account management, you’re also adding more decision points for the user. Thousands, or even millions, of people struggle to remember their username and password every day, and adding social media login buttons may just add more frustration as users try to decide which service to use. You may also add visual complexity, which can be irksome to sticklers for simplicity.

For people active on multiple social networks, the problem may also be forgetting what they used last time. Again, frustration with making the right choice can arise.

Conclusion/Resolution

The best thing to do is to test out different login APIs to decide what is most suitable. You could even ditch this Google account management feature and stick to the traditional sign in form. Users will find it easier to retrieve usernames and passwords if you create prompts that indicate if that username is available or if it doesn’t exist in this website; error messages that say the password they typed is incorrect; and links to the forgot username and forgot password forms.

Internet users want things to happen fast – they want to load web pages quickly, receive verification emails fast, and not to mention, log into a site in the shortest possible time. By providing a smooth Internet experience, you have higher chances of turning those visitors into leads.

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