A new Facebook developer tool can potentially make it quicker to sign into other apps on Android. Earlier today, TechCrunch reported on a new feature in the Facebook Login Account Kit, a developer platform that was first announced in April. Called Instant Verification, the feature is designed to avoid making users go through SMS-based authentication — an extra security step that can hamstring users in places without stable cell service.
Facebook’s Account Kit is separate from the Facebook social network, and it ordinarily doesn’t require a Facebook account to use. App developers who integrate the Account Kit can ask users to log into mobile apps with their phone number, instead of remembering a password. Normally, this would send a code to that number via text message, which users could then enter to complete their login. If users are already logged into the Facebook app for Android, though, Instant Verification will let apps check to see whether the phone number matches a number that’s tied to that profile. If it does, the app will automatically log them in without sending a text.
Facebook tells TechCrunch that this is meant to make using the system easier in areas without reliable SMS service. (It already included a backup option that would let people sign in via Facebook notification.) The more companies use it, the more Facebook can sell them on other services, and the more it can encourage people to keep Facebook installed. Of course, you’ll only encounter this system at all if you use an app that’s using Account Kit. Facebook’s site details some examples of apps using the system, including digital music service Saavn and calling app YeeCall. But so far, it’s still a relatively new outgrowth of Facebook’s extremely popular social login system, which is directly tied to a user’s profile.