Google+ Sign-In goes where Facebook Connect can't
With Google+ Sign-In, Google now has an answer to the ubiquitous Facebook Connect button that lets you easily log in to web sites.
Much like Facebook Connect, Google+ Sign-In lets you log in to web sites with one click, as long as you're already signed into Gmail, YouTube, or any other Google service.
If you have two-step authentication enabled with your Google account, signing in with Google+ is a more secure option than creating an entirely new user name and password on each new web site—and it means you'll have one less login to remember.
Google+ Sign-In also has some interesting hooks into Android. When you sign in to a web site with Google+ on the desktop, you'll see an option to remotely install the corresponding app on any Android devices you own, just as it would if you installed it through the Google Play web site.
It's an example of where Google has a slight edge over Facebook by having its own mobile operating system. At the moment, Facebook has no simple way of remotely installing apps on your phone or tablet when you login to its desktop web site.
In fact, the only way to install a Facebook-connected app from the desktop to your phone is to find the app's listing in the Facebook App Center, click the “send to mobile” button, and then look for a notification on your phone that sends you to the appropriate mobile app store. It's a complicated process.
The Android integration goes a step further in the Google+ Android app. Users will now be able to create 'interactive' posts on Google+ that take people directly to a specific part of an app, such as a restaurant menu on OpenTable, a radio station on TuneIn, or an item listing on Fancy.
These interactive posts are a direct shot at Facebook's “frictionless sharing,” which can automatically tell people what songs you're listening to in Spotify, or what articles you're reading from The Washington Post.
Google+ lets you decide what things you want to share, and only shows those things to other users in certain situations. Still, it's not a full-blown answer to Facebook sharing, since there's no way to create interactive Google+ posts on the desktop web.
Again, it's not clear whether Facebook could even offer this type of integration, which would let users jump directly into a specific part of a third-party app. Currently, that sort of Facebook-to-app sharing is only available on the desktop.
Of course, Google has its own issues. Google+ has not been able to shake its “ghost town” reputation, even though it ranks as the number two social network by one estimate. The success of Google's new sharing and sign-in efforts will depend entirely on support from app developers. At launch, Google has only listed 10 web services that are participating.