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Digg integration gives Facebook Connect a leg up in universal log-in battle

May 6, 2009 |  5:55 pm

For those itching to crawl into the world of social news but don't want to spend the five minutes it takes to create an account on one of these services, Digg's integration of Facebook Connect alleviates the nuisance.

Connect

Today, Digg opened its service to Facebook's more than 200 million users, allowing anyone with a Facebook account to vote on Digg news stories and share them with friends on the ubiquitous social network.

With the Web's largest social news site supporting Connect, Facebook gets a leg up in its race with Google and Twitter to be the universal log-in service of choice.

Some blogs have supported using your Facebook and Google accounts to post comments for a while. And Twitter quietly released its own universal log-in service to developers.

Unlike Facebook Connect, "Sign in with Twitter" is built on ...

... OAuth, a transparent, open-source standard. That instantly wins it some points with a niche of developers.

Another standard, OpenID, seemed poised last year to become the universal Web log-in system because of its openness and early support from some major players. Its backers include Google, AIM, Yahoo and Microsoft Hotmail, and it can be used as an optional way to post comments on Blogger.

Google Friend Connect makes some pretty bold promises to webmasters and bloggers, such as saying that using the service will "attract more visitors" to their sites. Its friend-building features and the ability to interact with other social networks makes it a sort of decentralized social network. Friend Connect can be easily implemented on Blogger since both services are run by Google.

With Facebook Connect, developers who choose to implement it gain access to users' profile information and can tap into their friends lists to encourage interaction on and about their sites. Connect can also post onto users' Facebook walls when they make a comment on a blog that runs the software. It can be installed on any website or iPhone application.

These services benefit the user as well. They can turn any blog into a social experience, while eliminating the need to create a new account just to leave a comment.

Google, Facebook and Twitter all have good reason to want to be on every website and blog: It makes their products more sticky. And if one log-in system overwhelmingly wins over the Internet's heart, it could become the standard. Right now, there is no really ubiquitous social platform.

But Digg's backing of Facebook is a boost for Connect. Add to that the fact that, according to Technorati, half the Web's top 10 blogs support Facebook's log-in service, and the race is starting to widen.

-- Mark Milian

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