Airbnb announced a security update today, enabling users to verify their identities by connecting to a Google or Weibo account.
The update affects Airbnb’s “Verified ID” feature, which uses both online (e.g.: a linked Facebook account) and offline (e.g.: a passport) methods to prove that a user is who they claim to be. Ultimately, the goal is to make Airbnb’s reputation-based community of strangers safer for all parties involved.
The addition of Google accounts to the Verified ID program should not surprise — Google complements existing online options, like Facebook and LinkedIn. The addition of Weibo, however, often likened to a “Chinese Twitter,” further confirms Airbnb’s intent to aggressively expand in China.
We already knew of Airbnb’s plans to target China and the rest of Asia after Airbnb product manager Gustaf Alstromer highlighted the company’s ambitions at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat 2014 event last month. According to Alstromer:
This is a market that’s very strategic for us. On the product side, we’ve had to do a lot of changes and adaptation for that market.
Today’s update closely follows another recent Airbnb product tweak, in which the company updated its review system so critical guests don’t have to fear retaliation from hosts.
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