Skip to Content
Uncategorized

One Login to Rule Them All

Facebook makes a bid to be the bedrock of all mobile and location-focused apps.
November 3, 2010

Facebook has announced new features that could see the company become a central part of every cell phone app on the market.

One feature, called single sign-on, promises to make use of the fact that smart-phone users can be signed into Facebook’s app even if they’re not using Facebook at the moment. A blue Facebook button can be added by developers to their own apps to provide you access with a single click. It could sweep away the need to ever type a login and password for any other service.

That can certainly make life easier, and also make it simpler to share what apps you’re using with friends. More sharing is good for Facebook: it makes our news feeds richer and more compelling to friends. It also provides a broader awareness of our habits that could help Facebook’s real business: targeting ads.

A second new feature attempts to position Facebook at the heart of every location-based app, giving the company access to data that otherwise would be hidden inside other companies’ products. A new set of tools for app developers lets them tap into Facebook’s database of locations and what it knows about your friends’ movements. This means that people will find location-based apps more powerful because they’ll be able to access information about friends that don’t use the same apps they do. For example, people reading about a bar on Yelp will be able to see which friends visited the same bar, even if those friends don’t use Yelp.

It’s not just privacy-conscious users that may be a little unsettled by this latest extension of Facebook’s social tentacles. Today’s new services–and a new “deals” feature that allows businesses to offer coupons via Facebook Places–also bring it into direct competition with the same app makers it claims to be helping. Location-based apps like Yelp, Loopt and Foursquare have signed up for the new sign-on and location tools, saying their users will benefit. But Facebook seems to be pushing those services toward being mere front-ends for its all-powerful database underneath.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.