Thursday, June 5, 2014

Google Accounts As Blueprint For All Software as a Service Applications

While there are many things I don’t agree with Google about, but they are pioneers on the Internet, and in some cases have the experience to lead in some very important ways. In this scenario I’m thinking about Google Account management, and how it can be used as blueprint for all other Software as a Service (SaaS) applications.

During a recent visit to my Google account manager, I was struck by the importance of all the tools that were made available to me.

Account Settings
Google gives you the basic level control to edit your profile, adding, updating the information you feel is relevant.

Security
Google gives you the password level control, but then steps up with security with 2-step verification, and application specific passwords.

Manage Apps
Google provides a clean application manager, allowing you to control who has access to your account via the API. You can revoke any app, as well as see how they are accessing your data--taking advantage of the oAuth 2.0, that is a standard across all Google systems.

Platform Apps
The management of applications is not exclusive to 3rd party applications. Google gives you insight into how they accessing your account as well. This view of the platform is critical to providing a comprehensive lens into how your data is used, and in establishing trust.

Data Tools
Google rocks it when it comes to data portability, with their data dashboard that allows you to view your data, as well as the option download your data at any point, via the Google Takeout system which gives you direct access to over all your data across Google systems.

API Access
Google has long been a leader in the API space, providing over 100 (at last count) APIs. Most any application you use on Google platform will have an API to allow for deeper integration into other applications and platforms.

Logging It All
A complete activity log is provided, in addition to being able to see how specific applications are accessing data. This easy access to logs is essential for users to understand how their data is being accessed and put to use.

There are other goodies in the Google Account management, but these seven areas, provide a blueprint that I think ANY software as a service should provide as default for ALL users. I’m not even kidding. This should be the way ALL online services work, and users should be educated about why this is important.

I’m going to continue to work on this blueprint, as a side project, and start harassing service providers. ;-)



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