OAuth2 seems to be the go-to integration standard for REST, mobile and API integration. But how popular is it?

If we take a look at Google Trends, we can add in the search term “OAuth2”, normalise for the last 5 years and switch the geo to be world wide. This gives us something like the following:

OAuth2 Google search trend, 2015-2020, world wide

So, we can probably say there has been a steady rate of search increase over the last 5 years. But how does that relate to something like OpenID Connect (OIDC)? OIDC being an extension profile of OAuth2, that introduced an authentication component.

OAuth2 (blue) -v- OIDC (red) Google search trend, 2015-2020, world wide

So clearly, OAuth2 is “winning” the race. Not too surprising I guess, considering the dependency of OAuth2 on OIDC. But what about another comparison – this time, OAuth2 against API. API’s are clearly the cool kid on the street when it comes to service delivery.

OAuth2 (blue) -v- API (red) Google search trend, 2015-2020, world wide

In this case we have a much clearer winner. Search trends for API far outstrip that of OAuth2.

One final comparison – this time against something more competitive to OAuth2 and that of SAML2. Whilst not like for like, clearly SAML2 has similar characteristics with respect to federation, application integration, standards based authX functionality.

OAuth2 (blue) -v- SAML2 (red) Google search trend, 2015-2020, world wide

This comparison, shows another clear winner. OAuth2 in blue is far more popular and also growing. SAML2 searches are lower and stagnant.

This article was originally written in Feb 2020 – ed.

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