We hate the form, so cue social login

Facebook vs Google

In short answer to the question in the title, no. Facebook and Google became Internet giants for much more varied reasons — and, in the process, put themselves in each other’s crosshairs.

Here’s an insane stat, though: Google and Facebook, together, account for over 80 percent of social log-ins. A social log-in, or social sign-in, is basically signing up for a website/service with your Google or Facebook account, as opposed to filling out some name/address/phone/e-mail capture form. In fact, when asked why they used social sign-in instead of regular sign-in, most people said it was because they didn’t like forms:

Why Do People Use Social Login

No. 2 on that list is “didn’t want to remember another password,” which social sign-in obviously also helps with. In the same Quartz article linked above, you’ll see a stat whereby 60 percent of people dump out of online purchases because they were presented, at some point in the process, with a sign-in form.

(Stop and think about this for a second: almost the entire Internet economy is based on landing pages and e-mail capture, to some extent — lead generation — and yet, everyone hates doing that. Bad money chasing good.)

Obviously privacy and security are major issues in the modern age. I personally think people inflate this a bit too much — Google’s business model is based, in part, on knowing things about you so that it can put the right ads in front of you — but I still understand the concerns, of course. 46 percent of people in the same survey as above thought that social sign-in would lead the companies to “sell their data.” 41 percent thought they’d “post on their Wall without permission.” No one completely understands what people are doing with their data — heck, no one really understands data at all, if we’re being honest — but they’re a little scared.

Even though they’re scared of what might happen, though, they use it because they don’t want to fill out a form or remember another password.

Think about this, even at a slightly deeper and more convoluted level: the word “formulaic” has a bad connotation, right? If you tell someone that their work is “formulaic,” that’s basically taking a giant dump on them, no? The first four letters? F-O-R-M.

People always give these speeches at conventions about how the real “four-letter F-word” to avoid is fear. I agree with that. You can’t live in fear.

But maybe the real four-letter F-word that’s shaping business is form. Because if you have it, people will run from it — and right into the hands of Google and Facebook, apparently.

Online then, even, the rich get richer.


Ted Bauer

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