Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 developers can now integrate Facebook's login system into their applications so people don't have to create a separate user name and password for them.
Facebook Login, as the service is called, lets people enter their access credentials once for the social networking site and then use the service to log into third-party apps, thus acting as a single sign-on system for users.
The APIs (application programming interfaces) for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 apps are fully baked, while the ones for Windows Phone 8 are in a beta phase that's expected to last no longer than 60 days, Microsoft said on Thursday.
For developers, tapping Facebook Login increases app signups and usage by simplifying registration and logins, wrote Steve Guggenheimer, a Microsoft corporate vice president and chief developer evangelist, in a blog post.
"Every step or interruption between a consumer and the task they want to complete creates friction and engagement drop-off. Some studies show such interruptions can significantly reduce a user's likelihood of signing up for the app," he wrote.
Beyond simplifying the registration and login processes, Facebook Login can also be used by third-party apps to share things like scores and app events on the social networking site, play games with friends and share photos, according to Guggenheimer. Foursquare, Adobe and iHeartRadio will use Facebook Login on their Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 apps.
Microsoft views the Facebook Login service as complementary to its own Microsoft Account identity service, which gives its users access to its consumer online services.
"We remain 100 percent committed to the Microsoft Account, as we are to Active Directory for companies," Guggenheimer wrote. "Enabling Facebook Login speaks to Microsoft's ongoing commitment to build extensible platforms that work well with other leaders in the industry, and to provide developers with choices for things like identity verification when building apps for Windows and Windows Phone."
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.