I surf the internet a lot. It’s not really a secret. I read a lot of sites on a variety of topics. One thing I have noticed more of as I browse various sites is the “Facebook Connect” icon (). It might be a small variation on that image, but I’m seeing in more and more places.
A few years ago, there was a large push behind OpenID. OpenID, worked in a similar way that Facebook does. A website could set up a way to authenticate a user via an outside source, allowing the user to have a single password that they had to remember. The idea behind this is that the one password that would be remembered would be incredibly strong. But the user could connect to a website without having to signup for an account because the OpenID login was their login. Facebook Connect works exactly like OpenID does, a person can log into a site using their Facebook credentials, thus allowing them to not have to remember a different password and create a new account on yet another webpage.
My question is, “Is Facebook winning the OpenID war?”. Not that there is really a war going on persey. I’m sure some people will make the argument that the two technologies are different (and on some level they very much are), but from a end user perspective they accomplish a similar goal and since a lot of people already have Facebook accounts the userbase for Facebook Connect is larger than OpenID. While some of the underlying technology is different, if the end result is the same from a user perspective, what incentive is there for a user to choose to get an OpenID when their Facebook credentials will work just fine? Also, from a programmer’s perspective why implement OpenID when I can implement Facebook Connect and achieve a similar result?
Long term, I think Facebook might win out in this “single sign-on” war. Microsoft tried but it really hasn’t won. The only place you use your Live ID to log in is a Microsoft site. Facebook Connect and OpenID are used in more places. Time’s going to tell the true winner on this one but what do you think?