Facebook Connect expanding, creating difficulties for OpenID

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Facebook Connect expanding, creating difficulties for OpenID

Chicago (IL) – Facebook announced that it would begin rolling out its highly touted Facebook Connect login system for multiple high-profile websites, which include Digg, Hulu, and Discovery.com. The sites, in addition to a few others, will begin supporting Facebook Connect within a few weeks.

Facebook Connect is the company’s technology that allows users to participate on other websites by simply logging in with their Facebook ID. Not only will a login be simple, but it also allows users to broadcast anything from a third party site to their friends via Facebook. For instance, if an individual wants to vote, or leave a comment on a Digg story, the will be able to log on to Digg utilizing their Facebook ID and password to participate in Digg just like a “regular” user. As individuals navigate Digg, any actions will be broadcast on their Facebook, just as stories such as leaving comments, adding photos, and writing on a wall show up.

This system should be widely embraced by “social” web users as it eliminates the requirement of multiple logins.

With Facebook claiming more than 120 million users, this technology should be good news for both users and potential partners, but it will also cause problems for OpenID, OAuth and other providers of similar technologies.
OpenID is offering a similar service and is working closely with Google, MySpace, Yahoo and Plaxo. However, that might not be enough since Facebook is pushing more mainstream sites such as Digg. Open ID has issues such as poor usability, which isn’t prevalent with Facebook Connect.

Facebook has managed to keep Facebook Connect user friendly enough that even the novice user can figure it out. The ease of use guarantees that companies are likely to adopt the feature quickly.

Facebook Connect was developed utilizing proprietary code, therefore the system will not work in conjunction with OpenID. Data that is gathered by Facebook Connect can only be utilized by Facebook.

It is clear that this technology threatens the initial concept behind the Open Web, which is focused on the idea that data would be freely shared between social websites utilizing open-source technologies.

“Essentially, Facebook is trying to replace all logins with their own, and control the creation, distribution and application of the social graph using their proprietary platform,” noted Chris Saad, open-source advocate and co-founder of the Data Portability project, on his blog.
Saad feels that OpenID’s proponents have are tangled up in disagreements regarding branding and implementation. “The result is a series of mixed messages that have largely diluted the value of DataPortability’s promise this year,” he said. “The promise of making the conversation tangible for the mainstream – the executives who are now partnering with Facebook.”

“We need to get our act together for 2009, people,” Saad said.

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