Having become synonymous with one-click purchasing, Amazon is now extending its sign-on identity. On Wednesday, the technology giant launched "Login with Amazon" so Amazon account holders can employ their existing identity to sign onto third-party participating sites, games and apps.
In its announcement, Amazon pointed to a Harris Interactive study that found half of U.S. Net users have at least five passwords to remember.
The new service, based on the widely used OAuth 2.0 authorization framework, is available to other apps or Web sites at no charge, and is open to developers of new games and apps. There are also a variety of other single sign-on services, such as Google, Facebook or Twitter, although, unlike those services, Amazon's account information has a user's credit card data.
Michael Carr, Amazon vice president for eCommerce Services, noted in a statement that Login with Amazon allows Amazon customers to have "a hassle-free way to quickly and securely sign-in to apps, games and Web sites, without having to remember yet another password."
Amazon-owned clothing site Zappos and deal site Woot have been testing Login with Amazon. Amazon said 40 percent of new Zappos customers are choosing to login with an Amazon account, and twice as many new Woot customers choose to login with Amazon credentials than with any other social login service. Additionally, the Amazon login customers at Woot had the highest rate of order conversion.
Amazon is positioning Login with Amazon as part of a suite of cross-app and cross-site services it is offering to developers and publishers. These include the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform itself for infrastructure needs, GameCircle for syncing leaderboards and other game elements across devices, in-app purchasing within games across devices, A/B user testing, Game Connect for selling virtual goods, and Amazon AppStore.
Web Identity Federation
In addition to Login with Amazon, Amazon Web Services has expanded its identity federation service, which enabled developers to temporarily grant security credentials to users outside of AWS, such as employees in a large organization who are seeking access to an AWS-housed app. The expansion, called Web identity federation, now allows users to sign into the app on AWS using Login with Amazon, or with identities from Facebook or Google.
Brad Shimmin, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, said Amazon's latest identity moves point to a day when there will be "a handful" of major identity services. He said that Amazon's "looks a lot like Google's, a centralized identity management service with tentacles that can reach out" to many areas, although Amazon accounts have the advantage of being commerce-enabled, with credit card info.
The strength of the identity competitors, he pointed out, will come down to levels of trust and the extent of the accompanying ecosystem. Shimmin noted that Apple's identity system is also a major e-commerce enabler, although within iTunes-housed apps and Apple properties.