Facebook Connect – The end of OpenID/oAuth?

Oct 13
Facebook Connect – The end of OpenID/oAuth?

One of the many talks at FOWA (Future of Web-Apps) last week covered the subject of OpenID/oAuth.

As someone who pretty much builds membership modules into every website I build, OpenID has always intrigued me, but never enough to warrant dipping my toe in.

The problem, I’ve always justified to myself, is that the type of clients that use the websites that I build and relative computer novices – most are press/media types who log in for information and/or images and then they’re off again. The thought of them having to use an OpenID (or even understanding what it was) would scare them away. Simply not good for me or the client.

So, it really opened my eyes on Friday, when Dave Morin of Facebook.com announced the Facebook Connect API, which allows web developers to connect users and their facebook profiles to remote websites and even publish content on users newsfeed!

Whether you love it or loathe it, it’s safe to say that facebook is not going anywhere soon. The idea that I can tap into the vast resource and information about users to profile my sites around them, is an awesome concept.

I’m a regular facebooker and I know that most of my clients userbase will be. Therefore, a central authentication system where they can sign-in using their facebook credentials and all other fields are pre-populated from the information they’ve already given is going to add immense value to sites!

Owners are now able to open their sites to the connected world of facebook – users are able to publish stories, articles and images from their websites direct to the front page of the facebook newsfeed increasing site exposure significantly!

Due to the fact that facebook represents our ‘online identity’, visitors are able to provide much more accurate information, further enhancing their online experience on these ‘socially connected websites’.

Since facebook is used to stay in touch with friends and families, the facebook connect system now allows them to take their friends and families with them when they surf ‘connected’ websites by keeping them informed of what they’ve seen and liked.

The security and privacy settings they set within facebook are still adhered to and follow the user through to their experience on these ‘connected’ websites.

The next membership-based site that I build, I will certainly try to persuade the client to venture into a Facebook Connect environment and see what happens… stay tuned!

information about Facebook Connect is available from here

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