HOME NEWS HOW-TO OPINION CULTURE ABOUT

How Sign in with Google is Different than Facebook Connect

There are many ways "Sign in with Google" is much different than Facebook Connect but for the purpose of this article we will only discuss how data is collected and used. From personal experience, I was always wary of signing in with Facebook on any website as their only form of revenue was tracking users and using their data. This is very different from Google. Google makes the majority of their revenue from relevant ad clicks. Not ad impressions, not forced advertising in a social media feed or stream and definitely not selling users data.

For quite some time I have been expecting Sign in with Google as it simply made sense that Google+ users would use their account to interact, share and utilize the entire web, not just the Google+ stream. In February of 2013, +Vic Gundotra and crew released Sign in with Google on some test websites like +Fancy, +Fitbit and +Flixster. We are still very early in the process so third party comments are not available; yet. I fully expect to see comments implemented in the very near future.

How Facebook Uses Data

When using Facebook Connect or "Sign in with Facebook" users take a huge risk as to how this data will be used. As stated earlier, the only way Facebook has found to make money is to force ads upon its users. The company has claimed, time and again, that their ads are relevant because of the data they have collected on users. How are they getting this data? Many ways. One of the most common ways is users giving it to them on their Facebook profile. Any time a user updates their status or interacts with another individual they are telling Facebook more about them as a person. This is very valuable data but it is not the only means of data collection Facebook uses.

One of the most abused data collection techniques is the "Facebook Like." Any time a user "likes" something on the web through the Facebook interface they are asking to get more ads shoved in their face. Interestingly, Facebook doesn't just push ads for that particular like, it makes assumptions to push even more ads. Here is an example. If I "like" several articles or videos related to college basketball and I also happen to "like" web content mentioning Chapel Hill, North Carolina Facebook automatically assumes I am a UNC fan. This is false. I have two degrees from North Carolina State University and I have no desire to see ads for UNC related apparel or tickets.

To compound this problem, Facebook also uses the data provided to them through "Sign in with Facebook." Lets use the above example. I have many friends that attend the University of North Carolina. These friends have personal websites and I would like to comment on some of their content. An article might be completely unrelated to the UNC athletic department but Facebook see that the UNC students have "liked" or joined Facebook Groups related to UNC basketball, football and baseball. When I sign into Facebook there is a good chance that I will see an ad that says "[Facebook user] liked UNC Apparel and Outfitters." There have been many documented videos showing that users did not in fact like that particular item or retailer but happened to like something similar. Once again, Facebook is making assumptions. To see this in action watch this video.

How Google Uses Data

Google has a much different approach than Facebook when it comes to data collection. This is mostly due to the fact that Google has users that actively give them data when they are looking to further their knowledge or find answers. The majority of Google's revenue comes from ad clicks of relevancy. It is very important to point out that Google only puts up ads when they are relevant. If you do a search for my name, "+Jesse Wojdylo", you will find no ads. There is a reason. If you do a search for "cats" you will also see zero ads. This is because Google knows that relevance matters.

If you search "how to repair a bathtub" you will see relevant ads from local professionals or retailers that sell items to help you through this process. I will say it one more time, relevance matters. This is why Sign in with Google is so much different from Facebook Connect. Sign in with Google allows Google to get to know you better but they are not going to shove ads in your face. They are going to strategically make suggestions when the time is right. The data they collect will also help them give you much better search results.

Just this morning I was talking with my sister, who is an elementary school teacher. She pointed out that finding an answer can be done in five seconds because of the power of Google search. The Sign in with Google feature is going to make it even better. If you are an individual who lives in Livingston, Montana and fly fishing is a hobby you will likely access websites related to this subject. Livingston, Montana is a very small town so there are not a plethora of websites about local fly fishing.

As you scour the web and comment on fly fishing related websites Google will be able to make suggestions that will enhance your experience. There might not be a Livingston, Montana fly fishing message board but Google knows there have been several Fly Fishing communities indexed in search over the last few months. Although these communities are not as specific as you would like they will still provide you with some useful information. As more and more users Sign in with Google searches will become more refined and you will get all the information you could desire from individuals who live just a few miles down the road.

Google is About Effort

Over the course of the last several months I continue to refine my thesis that Google is a company that encourages users to put forth extra effort. Early adopters of Google+ have heard, over and over, that Google+ is just not easy to figure out. With fifteen minutes of effort you can find everything you need to know about Google+. Google Plus Daily has all the resources in one specific location. I will admit, it takes effort to learn and understand the complexities of Google+. It also takes effort to build a community or following of individuals who get it. Once you do, your life will never be the same.

Google recognizes that anything meaningful in life takes a little bit of effort. Rather than abusing their users they encourage them to utilize their wonderful resources with rewards already set in place. These rewards are better search results, authority in a specific subject or topic and a better overall web experience with very few, if any, privacy concerns. This is why "Sign in with Google" is different than Facebook Connect.