How to use the Google One Tap solution in your webapp to authenticate users

Cover image

If you are reading this, I think it is a very high chance that you have already seen one of the components shown in the image above. Some popular sites like Quora, have implemented this "Google One Tap experience" and also the traditional "Sign-in with Google" button. Maybe you are wondering how does it work or how they have implemented this experience, so I am going to explain this in this post.

Introduction #

Google Identity Services its defined by Google as: "our new cross-platform sign-in SDK for Web and Android apps, supporting and streamlining multiple types of credentials".

In our case, and keeping the target to web apps, they provide to us "seamless sign-in and sign-up flows", such as:

This three points is what I will mainly cover in this post.

What we can do with this and for what #

As shown in the main overview page of "Sign In with Google", basically this processes will allow/help us to quickly and easily manage users authentication and sign-in to out website. Users will sign-in, provide consent and we will securely receive their profile information.

What can be useful for? #

If you would like to test it or integrate it with any of your websites, then... let's get started!

Getting started #

You only need basic HTML and JS knowledge to get started. All this setup process is done with JS libraries and HTML to place the buttons/modals.

Note: you may want to know the supported browsers and platforms before continuing.

The first thing we will do is to setup a Google API client ID and configure your consent screen. This is a pretty straightforward process and it is very well explained and documented here.

When you are ready with these and have the necessary data, you will have to load the client library in your webpage. This can be achieved with a little script tag like the following:

<script src="https://accounts.google.com/gsi/client" async defer></script>

This script tag can be included in the head tag of your website or in the body after all your content.

Note that we are including the keywords async and defer to optimize the page loading speed. It is important too to review your CSP to allow this script source and connection. Otherwise, you can download the source and serve it by yourself (I do not recommend this and I have not tested this approach).

After doing this, we are already loading the client library to support the "Sign in With Google" experience.

To finalize the setup, we will have to choose the components for our pages, which are basically a "Sign in" button or the "Google One Tap UX".

What Google recommends is to add the "Sign in" button on our main login pages and the "Google One Tap" to all pages in our sites and enable its "Automatic sign-in option".

In this case we are including the "Google One Tap UX" but adding the "Sign in" button is a straightforward process and also implemented in the demo webapp we will see later. If you want to know about adding the "Sign in" button checkout this links:

Understanding the Google One Tap experience #

When configured, the login widget appears as a popup, and it will prompt the users to sign in or sign up with the existing Google account when any of these conditions are met:

If you want to make users sign in when this conditions are not met, then you should display a simple "Sign In With Google button".

There are some points to know on how and when the Google One Tap experience can change:

After understanding the "flow", lets get the Google One Tap to display in our page.

Displaying Google One Tap #

In order to display Google One tap we can choose between JS and HTML. In my case I prefer to use JS and handle the logic there, but choose whatever fits you the most.

It is also important to choose if we will want to handle the response in the client side or in the server side. I will cover both in this post.

Handling the response in client side #

When handling the response in client side, a JS function will be triggered when the flow is completed. We can achieve this in HTML+JS or only JS as said above.

In JS (see comments inside for more information):

function handleCredentialResponse(response) {
// Here we can do whatever process with the response we want
// Note that response.credential is a JWT ID token
console.log("Encoded JWT ID token: " + response.credential);
}
window.onload = function () {
google.accounts.id.initialize({
client_id: "YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID", // Replace with your Google Client ID
callback: handleCredentialResponse // We choose to handle the callback in client side, so we include a reference to a function that will handle the response
});
// You can skip the next instruction if you don't want to show the "Sign-in" button
google.accounts.id.renderButton(
document.getElementById("buttonDiv"), // Ensure the element exist and it is a div to display correcctly
{ theme: "outline", size: "large" } // Customization attributes
);
google.accounts.id.prompt(); // Display the One Tap dialog
}

In HTML:

<script>
function handleCredentialResponse(response) {
// Here we can do whatever process with the response we want
// Note that response.credential is a JWT ID token
console.log("Encoded JWT ID token: " + response.credential);
}
</script>
<div id="g_id_onload"
data-client_id="YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID"
data-callback="handleCredentialResponse"
data-your_own_param_1_to_login="any_value"
data-your_own_param_2_to_login="any_value">

</div>

Including this HTML code in our pages will make Google One Tap prompt when the client library of Google loads. We will have to replace YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID with our client id and the data-callback attribute value with our JS function which Google will trigger to perform a callback (this a client-side approach). Additionally, we can specify custom data as the data-your_own_param_1_to_login and data-your_own_param_2_to_login attributes, which will be sent to the callback function.

Handling the response in server side #

When handling the response in server side, we will receive a call to an endpoint when the flow is completed. We can achieve this in pure HTML or pure JS as said above.

In JS (see comments inside for more information):

window.onload = function () {
google.accounts.id.initialize({
client_id: "YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID", // Replace with your Google Client ID
login_uri: "https://your.domain/your_login_endpoint" // We choose to handle the callback in server side, so we include a reference to a endpoint that will handle the response
});
// You can skip the next instruction if you don't want to show the "Sign-in" button
google.accounts.id.renderButton(
document.getElementById("buttonDiv"), // Ensure the element exist and it is a div to display correcctly
{ theme: "outline", size: "large" } // Customization attributes
);
google.accounts.id.prompt(); // Display the One Tap dialog
}

In HTML:

<div id="g_id_onload"
data-client_id="YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID"
data-login_uri="https://your.domain/your_login_endpoint"
data-your_own_param_1_to_login="any_value"
data-your_own_param_2_to_login="any_value">

</div>

Including this HTML code in our pages will make Google One Tap prompt when the client library of Google loads. We will have to replace YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID with our client id and the data-login_uri attribute value with our login endpoint which Google will use to perform a callback (this a server-side approach). Additionally, we can specify custom data as the data-your_own_param_1_to_login and data-your_own_param_2_to_login attributes, which will be sent to the callback endpoint.

Customizing the experience #

The Google One Tap experience can be customized in several ways. Here are some things you can do to customize it.

Automatic sign-in and sign-out #

To do this, we only have to add the HTML attribute data-auto_select with a value of true to our HTML code as the following snippet:

<div id="g_id_onload"
data-client_id="YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID"
data-auto_select="true"
data-login_uri="https://your.domain/your_login_endpoint">

</div>

Note that the user must first be signed-in to their Google account and have previously granted consent to share their account profile with your app in order to automatic sign-in to work.

For sign out, we must take into account that we can enter a dead-loop UX if the user is redirected with a page with Google One Tap activated after the sign out. To avoid this, put the class g_id_signout on the button that performs the sign out of the user (this will prohibit auto-selection after a user signs out). This can be achieved as follows:

<div class="g_id_signout">Sign Out</div>

Also in JS:

const button = document.getElementById('signout_button');
button.onclick = () => {
google.accounts.id.disableAutoSelect();
}

Change the sign-in context #

We can change the wording in the prompt indicating a context, in order to match our use case. We can use the following context with its corresponding wording:

ContextWording
signin"Sign in with Google"
signup"Sign up with Google"
use"Use with Google"

To specify the context, just add the HTML attribute data-context with a value included in the table above. For example:

<div id="g_id_onload"
data-client_id="YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID"
data-login_uri="https://your.domain/your_login_endpoint"
data-context="use">

</div>

Position of the prompt #

By default, the prompt is always shown in the top-right corner of desktop web browser windows. To display it inside a container we can indicate the data-prompt_parent_id HTML attribute indicating an HTML element id which will be its container. Also we can establish styles to this element. For example:

<div id="g_id_onload"
data-client_id="YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID"
data-login_uri="https://your.domain/your_login_endpoint"
data-prompt_parent_id="g_id_onload"
style="position: absolute; top: 100px; right: 30px;
width: 0; height: 0; z-index: 1001;
"
>

</div>

Close One Tap when tapping outside #

By default, it will close when tapping outside the prompt. If you want this behavior to change, use the data-cancel_on_tap_outside HTML attribute and set it to false. For example:

<div id="g_id_onload"
data-client_id="YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID"
data-login_uri="https://your.domain/your_login_endpoint"
data-cancel_on_tap_outside="false">

</div>

Managing the state with cookies #

If you are using cookies, then you can toggle the One Tap display status if a cookie is present or not. To do so, use the data-skip_prompt_cookie HTML attribute and set it to the cookie name you want to use to toggle the display.

It is simple:

Example code snippet:

<div id="g_id_onload"
data-client_id="YOUR_GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID"
data-login_uri="https://your.domain/your_login_endpoint"
data-skip_prompt_cookie="sid">

</div>

A simple demo #

For this blog post, I have developed a simple frameworkless static site with a live demo you can try by yourself. Only HTML, CSS and JS are used... all is client side.

piraces/GoogleOneTapSample - GitHub

In the demo, a popup for Google One Tap will be shown in the top right corner and once you give consent to the application, it will be auto authenticate yourself in subsequent visits to the demo. There is also a "Sign in with Google" button in the case you dismiss the modal (to trigger the authentication), this button behaves similar to the modal, pre-selecting a Google account you are already authenticated with (this can be customized).

Here is a sample view of what happens when you authenticate:

Live demo preview

Note: The picture and possibly sensitive data has been removed from the image, but will be shown to yourself if you try it.

The following scopes are requested when you use the demo webapp:

APIScopeDescription
-.../auth/userinfo.emailSee your primary Google Account email address
-.../auth/userinfo.profileSee your personal info, including any personal info you've made publicly available
-openidAssociate you with your personal info on Google

Don't worry about the data or consent you are giving to this sample app, this data never leaves the browser. Trust me, I am not interested in collecting data in any way or do something with it. To do so, I would have to deploy some kind of service somewhere and I don't want and neither have time and motivation to do so. This is not an "excusatio non petita, accusatio manifesta", I only want to be clear with the treatment of your data. I invite you to check the source code for the demo.
In other case do not try the demo app 😢.

Going further into details #

The are other "advanced topics" that this post does not cover and you may be interested to learn. So here is a set of different topics and links to go further:

Hope they are useful for you!

Conclusion #

As shown and explained in this post, I consider Google One Tap a great, quick and easy "flow" to authenticate your users in a webpage or app.

It can be incorporated as a requirement to comment in your blog, vote in a poll, pre-populate an account information if the user is signing up in your app and lots of other things your imagination could think of.

What do you think? Would you use it?

Happy coding! 🎉🎉

🙏🙏🙏

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