Many major social networks offer the ability to login to third-party websites with your social-network credentials. You can login with your Twitter, Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD.DL), or Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) account and skip having to create another account.
Now Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) has released the same ability for application and website developers to add "Login With Amazon." Not only is this is a perfect complement to Amazon's current services, but it will also beat all of its aforementioned competitors for a majority of sites because of a fundamental difference: Amazon isn't a social network, and it won't share your actions with the world.
If you're developing an application or website that requires user credentials, it's always a point of friction that could drive away potential users. By using an account that many visitors already have, you ease the pain of signing up and hopefully convert more prospective users. The company that provides the account integration, like Facebook, gets a user who's even more tied into its ecosystem, as well as the information of what applications or sites that customer is using.
If you're building this functionality into a site or app, you may go for the largest user base. Facebook wins with 1.1 billion users, followed by Google+ with 343 million users, LinkedIn with 225 million, and Twitter with 200 million. Or perhaps you want to tie in best with the audience you're attempting to attract -- for example, you might focus on LinkedIn if you're making something geared toward business professionals.
But maybe you go for what your users might prize: privacy.
Setting itself apart
For those who may not want such information shared, Amazon's lack of social ties offers a haven of privacy in an increasingly open world. You can be sure that signing up for one site will never show up on a public stream, because Amazon has no public streams. While Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, or Twitter accounts may be best for commenting on articles across the Web, Amazon's login fills a niche for those who don't want such a public face.
In addition, Amazon's hosting services offer a one-stop shop for developers that other social logins don't provide. Like a digital megastore, an online company can deploy all of its services within Amazon's ecosystem. This ability will only increase the tie-in developers have with its cloud services, and it's representative of the long-term thinking of Amazon's management.
Amazon shareholders will also need such long-term thinking, as profits are constantly eaten up by the spending on such development of services.
Fool contributor Dan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Amazon.com, Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.