Facebook today is announcing a new addition to its Account Kit developer tool that people can use to log in to apps. On Android devices, the tool will now let end users sign in and start using apps simply by typing in their phone number — they no longer have to type in the code from an SMS message or Facebook push notification to get authenticated.
This is a useful update on the Android side of Account Kit, which launched in April as an alternative to the more traditional Facebook Login system.
In a blog post, Ethan Goldman-Kirst, a software engineer from Facebook’s Identify Tools team, talks about how it works:
When a person enters his/her phone number into an app using Account Kit, via Android services, we attempt a match with the phone number listed on the person’s Facebook profile. This is only possible if the person is logged into the Facebook app on the same device. If there is a match, we can complete the verification without sending a one-time password (OTP) via SMS, making the sign-in flow more seamless. If there isn’t a successful match, a SMS will be sent with a verification code to complete the sign-in. This feature is used only to improve the verification process in a secure way and no additional Facebook information is shared with the app.
Early testing shows a 97 percent conversion rate, Goldman-Kirst wrote.
Meanwhile, Google has been enhancing the login process on Android by allowing users to rely on their Google Accounts. And Twitter has been pushing its Digits sign-in tool, not to mention other sign-in systems.
The Instant Verification is available through Facebook’s latest software development kits (SDKs) for Android. Account Kit documentation is here.