I know a lot of people won’t be happy to hear this, but new data out from Facebook suggest they are becoming the dominant provider of online identity. The numbers are a little hard to interpret but my read is that 850m first time registrations to services are made using Facebook Connect each month, and 81 of the top 100 iOS apps and 62 of the top Android apps offer Facebook login. That’s an awful lot of activity. I imagine the next most used identity service is Twitter and from my own experience I would expect that their service sees an order of magnitude less usage.
What we are seeing here is users choosing Facebook Connect for its speed and convenience despite concerns about privacy and app companies cluttering their feed with spammy posts. This is a movie we’ve seen before, and we’ll see it again.
Facebook knows this too and is working on both sides of the equation to make Connect even more attractive. It is getting faster (31% faster on mobile, 16% faster on web) and they are making it more difficult for apps to get permission to post on behalf of their users.
The takeaway is that if you are a consumer facing company you really should be offering Facebook sign up and login.