Meebo enlists Google, Microsoft in new social networking standard

April 19, 2010

With social networking services booming, website operators are increasingly looking for ways to make their sites play well in the social world.

Witness the clutter of “share this” buttons on websites urging surfers to share a video or an article with a litany of social networking services that the user may or may not belong to.

xauth2Now Internet chat and toolbar company Meebo is introducing another option that it says will allow websites to custom tailor the experience to each visitor’s personal social networking predilections.

With XAuth (Extended Authentication), Meebo says it has developed a standard framework for the Web that allows sites to automatically detect which social networking or communication service a surfer is logged onto — when the person visits another website they can quickly begin interacting with their friends on the site and quickly share the site’s content across their network.

Meebo says the idea of XAuth is to provide an open technology standard that all social networks and online publishers can join to improve the social features on their sites. So far Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and MySpace are among the Internet players that have joined the effort.

Of course, the big two social networks, Twitter and Facebook, are each pushing their own individual authentication and website integration programs, with Facebook Connect and Twitter @anywhere.

Facebook is also rumored to be planning to supercharge its website integration features with a new way for users to “like” content across the Web, to be introduced at its F8 developer’s conference this week.

Meebo’s CEO Seth Sternberg says that XAuth is meant to be complimentary, rather than competitive, with services like Facebook Connect and Twitter @anywhere.

But it remains to be seen whether Facebook and Twitter, which have more than 400 million users and 100 million users respectively, will see any incentive to participate in XAuth instead of going it alone.

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