Meebo, which allows Web users to integrate multiple communications services like Facebook and AOL Instant Messenger in one interface, has launched a new tool called XAuth (Extended Authentication), which automatically recognizes the social platforms a person is actively using—allowing them to connect with other friends on a participating publisher’s site.
Already, Meebo has distributed a toolbar on thousands of sites, enabling visitors to log in and communicate via various social networking or instant-messaging platforms. Now, publishers that elect to incorporate XAuth will instantly alert users which communications tools are available on that site; and that no log in is necessary to begin communicating on the site and connecting with friends.
The idea is to increase engagement while diminishing user confusion.
Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg said that as Web publishers add more and more tabs on their sites, providing users with the ability to share content or connect with friends via sites ranging from Digg to LinkedIn, “[i]t was just getting a bit messy.”
“Publishers want to give people options, but they don’t always know what social networks matter to each user.”
Initially, Meebo has received commitments from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and MySpace to integrate their instant-messaging tools with XAuth—though neither Facebook or Twitter have signed on. Meebo officials said the company is actively looking to ad more social networks and more publishers to the XAuth platform.
“We just want to make Web sites more social,” said. And hopefully, as a result, more viral. “These days sites need to optimize for the social graph,” he added. “They want to reach their existing users’ friends.”