In the battle to become the ultimate identity broker on the web, Facebook with its Facebook Connect feature has a clear — and significant — lead. Google, on the other hand, is an also-ran here and its partnership with Twitter, announced last night, doesn’t really change anything, especially when you juxtapose it with the deal between Yahoo and Facebook. As Google explains on its Social Web Blog , you can now use your Twitter ID to log into some 9 million Google Friend Connect sites.
Does that help Google’s ID efforts? Not likely. Though it is good news for Twitter as it gets to expand its ecosystem a bit more, this time on the back of Google. Anything that helps Twitter to become a counterweight to Facebook, I’m all for it!
Marshall Kirkpatrick describes this ongoing tussle between Google and Facebook as the Identity Wars. To him I say: The war is over. Facebook won. It won the day it announced Facebook Connect back in July 2008. It won because it made Facebook Connect simple enough for its hundreds of millions of subscribers to use.
In comparison, Google’s efforts leave me confounded. And since it’s my job to know about these things, imagine the challenge it presents for those whose job revolves around other stuff. The third-party neutral effort, OpenID, should have been more successful. But web users are speaking with their clicks. Facebook Connect is winning because of two things: its simplicity and its perceived value to “Facebook users.” But of course I outlined this all yesterday, so I won’t repeat myself.