Google Winning Sign-In War, But Facebook Close Behind

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Most website users still prefer logging in with a Google account, but Facebook is a close second, according to new data from Janrain, a Portland startup whose software plugin makes it easy for websites to offer multiple login methods. The company’s latest survey looked at statistics from more than 250,000 websites and services that use its software, and found that close to 40 percent of users prefer to sign in with a Google ID, while 24 percent chose to login with their Facebook profile. Yahoo came in third with 14 percent of sign-ins, while Twitter and Microsoft’s Windows Live were tied at 5 percent.

It’s not all that surprising to see Facebook and Google ahead of Twitter, since much larger numbers of people use the social network and various Google services than are likely on Twitter, but it’s interesting that Microsoft’s Windows Live — which has been around for years, and was designed to be a single sign-on solution for the web long before Facebook came along — has such a tiny proportion of login activity, at least according to Janrain’s data (meanwhile, MySpace, AOL and LinkedIn are lumped together in the “other” category). The company said that the stats have not shown much change from April, when it last looked at its overall login data.

It’s worth noting that the numbers reported by Janrain are substantially different from those recently provided by Gigya, another service that offers multiple logins for websites. Gigya found that Facebook was the number one login method at all of the sites it covers, with 46 percent of logins, while Google came a distant second with 18 percent. It’s not clear how many websites or services Gigya’s data was based on, or what explains the discrepancies between the two surveys.

Janrain also broke down logins based on the type of website or service users were logging into as well, and that data shows Yahoo in the lead with 34 percent of logins to news and media-related sites, and Facebook in second place with 28 percent. Google comes in third with 25 percent, and AOL has 10 percent — which may seem like a large number, but isn’t that surprising given the fact that it is closely tied to the media properties of former parent company Time Warner (Gigya, meanwhile, found that Twitter was the number one login method at news sites, with 45 percent of sign-ins, while Facebook came second with 25 percent).

Janrain said that its data showed Facebook well in the lead when it comes to logins for music-related sites, with 55 percent of sign-ins, while Twitter was second with 18 percent. Facebook was also the number one login method for websites involving retail brands, Janrain’s study showed, with 45 percent of logins. Yahoo was in second place with 23 percent and Google came third with 21 percent. Facebook was also the number one choice for logging in to European websites, the company said — it had 39 percent of sign-ins, with Google coming in second at 26 percent and Twitter at 12 percent.

The company’s numbers also showed that Facebook is the leading service when it comes to sharing links to websites, thanks to its ubiquitous “like” buttons, with 53 percent of users choosing to share their activity on the social network — but Twitter is a strong second place with 37 percent.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): Will Games Help Google Figure Out How to Be Social?

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