What’s so special about a Facebook login? Why all the fuss. It’s just a social network right? And what does this have to do with mobile? Before you stop reading and move on to the next page or site, stick with me for a few minutes and hear me out.
The Username and Password Nightmare
The first question I’d ask you is, “How many websites do you maintain accounts on in your daily life?” If you’re anything like me, you have literally dozens, if not hundreds of online accounts to maintain – some for sites you use daily, others for sites you may only use a few times a year. But regardless, if you have to log in to a website, you also have to remember the username and password for each of these sites. Trying to remember usernames and passwords is a huge pain in the butt, not to mention a potential security nightmare.
The Signup Process Pain
There’s another issue at play here: You have to sign up for a new account if you want to use a service you’ve haven’t yet used before. This can be, in the best case, a simple web form with email verification required on your part. In the worst case this involves a huge sign-up form where your personal data is collected by the website or app in extreme detail. And although there are multiple social login providers, Facebook login is the most used.
Forget how time consuming signing up for each new service can be. Do you really want all of these apps and companies to have vast quantities of your personal information stored in their databases, ripe for the picking for over-aggressive marketers and hackers.
Even if you opt for Facebook as your login provider, you might be thinking:
“Hey, isn’t my data being stored in Facebook’s database? Isn’t it just as vulnerable there as anywhere else? And isn’t Facebook a huge target for hackers?”
This is all true, but I’d rather trust a company like Facebook with an army of security engineers and a public reputation to defend, than dozens of smaller, unknown sites with less skin in the game.
The Mobile Usability Dilema
And let’s face it, these days your more likely to login to your favorite websites on a mobile smartphone, not a desktop computer. When it comes to mobile, Facebook dominates. We’ve all experienced trying to type an email address, username, and password using our fingers on a touch-screen keyboard. It’s not efficient, and it’s definitely not easy or fun. You’re gonna have a bad time.
Simple is Better
If you can stomach trusting that Facebook is a secure place to store your data, you should likely be able to trust them to protect your login and password. The benefits are obvious: once you start setting up Facebook Login for your accounts, logging in becomes as easy as clicking the “Log In With Facebook” button. This will make your life easier on both the mobile and desktop web, and within mobile apps. And Facebook Login isn’t relegated to just these types of apps; recently Facebook announced a partnership with Microsoft. Now you can even login to Windows 8 using your Facebook credentials.
It’s Not All Rainbows and Unicorns
There are a few small problems with using Facebook Login for your entire life. The main one is downtime. Facebook is known for their high-availability; in fact they’re rarely down, but it does happen from time to time. If Facebook does happen to be down when your trying to access your favorite app, and if the app developer hasn’t built in a work around, non facebook login option, you’re screwed. On the flip site, if your own internet connection is out and you’re trying to login to a local application, you’re also out of luck until your internet comes back.
In The End
Facebook is integrating with everything, this can be a good thing or a bad thing for you, depending on the context of your relationship with the application in question. Is Facebook Login for you? We’ve provided as much information as we can, it’s still up to you to decide.
Personally I use Facebook login for many of the basic, non-security critical applications I use on a daily basis, especially mobile apps. It makes my life way easier, and it makes it quicker for me to access my password protected websites and apps. I don’t, however, trust or rely on Facebook login for things like banking, cloud data services, or other mission critical aspects of my digital life; for those, a good, old-fashioned strong password and username suffice. And for the really serious stuff, there’s always encrypted keys and two-factor authentication.