In a direct play to rival Facebook, Google today announced Google+ Sign-In. It’s an answer to Facebook Connect that provides a single login interface for websites and mobile apps that brings user information onto third-party sites. In a now-familiar setup: the user logs in with social media credentials while the website explains what information the site or app needs to access; in Google’s case this also includes Gmail, Calendar, etc. The user can choose which circles to share this information with, and if desired the “private” setting prevents anybody else from seeing the activity. This feature is now available with Android and iOS.
But where this feature departs from Facebook is in the distinction between passive and active sharing. Things that are passively passed to the G+ network, like what you’re listening to on Spotify, don’t pop up in streams at all in an attempt to sort out spamming and constant advertising overload, though if you grant users the right permissions to view your profile they can find this information if they seek it out. Active sharing, in contrast, is a direct, interactive post to the feed of the person or circle you’ve chosen, and each app or website has a stylized button, i.e. “buy” or “listen” that then kicks back to the related website or app. It might have a way to go yet to catch up with Facebook, but the more nuanced Google+ Sign-In system seems poised to at least rival Facebook’s far-reaching platform of sign-in and sharing across the web.