Google's added the OAuth standard to Gmail. Now available to developers through Google Code Labs, the move tightens up e-mail account security when a user authorizes a third-party developer to see their contacts list.
Out with the Old
Previously, if a user wanted to provide their contacts to a third-party website or app--like when Facebook accesses your address book in order to send invites to friends--they were required to grant the platform access to their Google account password.
With the OAuth standard, that's no longer needed.
In with the New
The standard obviously makes Gmail a more secure environment, and we wouldn't be surprised if this leads to an outburst of innovation from third-party developers. Of course, Google's already got its hands full of experimental functionality thanks to Gmail Labs, but imagine how much more engagement would take place if developers started going buck wild with custom applications. If anything's going to inspire that, it's surely a secure OAuth sign-in platform.
Twitter added OAuth support back in April of last year, and currently there are too many third-party apps to count on our fingers and toes (although, Twitter's latest developments could mean the end of the line for developers).
Google added that it was working with Yahoo! and Mozilla on "a formal Internet standard for using OAuth with IMAP/SMTP".
"We look forward to finalizing an Internet standard for using OAuth with IMAP/SMTP, and working with IMAP/SMTP mail clients to add that support," wrote Eric Sachs, senior product manager of Google Security on the official blog post.