Where Did I Leave My Keys?

There’s an interesting storm a-brewing regarding who will own the key to your online identity.  In the last couple of days, both Facebook and Google have made announcements where their respective online ID systems can be now used to log into other websites.  (For example, you could use your Facebook login to log in to NYTimes.com, or you could use your Google login as the key to your eBay account, hypothetically speaking.)

A bit of context, then a poll at the bottom.

  • Mashable on Facebook:"Facebook Connect is now open for business,
    allowing any developer to let users login to their websites using their
    Facebook credentials. Additionally, other key Facebook features, like
    your friends list, can now be integrated into third-party applications,
    which can in turn send data back into Facebook and the News Feed."
  • Mashable on Google: "Google Friend Connect, the company’s identity management offering for developers, is now
    available for anyone to signup without waiting to be whitelisted.
    Similar to Facebook Connect and MySpace Data Availability, the basic
    premise is that you can login with your Google (or Yahoo, AIM, OpenID)
    credentials on third-party applications without signing up for a
    separate account."
  • TechCrunch on Facebook: "Not an hour after Google announced the general availability
    of Friend Connect, Facebook is doing the same for its competing
    Facebook Connect service. Now any third party website that wants to
    pull personal data about visitors from Facebook – and send back
    activity reports to their news feeds – can do so by first filling out a
    self-service application"
  • TechCrunch on Google: "The battle over who will control
    access to your online identity is heating up. In the wake of more and
    more partners finally starting to take a shine to Facebook’s competing
    FB Connect (which we just implemented on Techcrunch), Google’s Friend Connect
    is now in an open beta. Before it was in a limited preview release, but
    now any website can add Google Friend Connect as a login option."

In addition to Facebook and Google, a project called OpenID is also adressing similar issues. [UPDATE:  Kevin Marks from Google noted that, for clarity, Friend Connect can accept either a Google ID or an OpenID.  So, if you have OpenID, you can use Friend Connect as well.]

(If you can’t see the poll, please click here to participate.)

I’ll let this run for a bit, and share the responses at the end of the week.  If you have thoughts on this sort of "linking of identities" across sites, leave them in the comments.  Very interested in hearing what folks think about this.

photo: grwal

One Reply to “Where Did I Leave My Keys?”

  1. I don’t like the concept of letting everyone share my personal data. It needs to be at least an opt in – opt out system.
    It would be bad enough if any one of the databases that have my information were compromised, but if that gave access to a plethora of other information I would be rather alarmed.

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