Microsoft adds support for Google Gmail IDs to Azure Active Directory

Surprise: Microsoft is enabling Gmail users to collaborate with others using Azure Active Directory B2B without requiring them to have a Microsoft account.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is adding the ability for those with Google Gmail IDs to federate with Azure Active Directory. That capability is available in public preview as of August 28, Microsoft officials said.

"AzureAD B2B Collaboration now supports signing in with Google ID's," tweeted Alex Simons, Vice President of Program Management for Microsoft's Identity Division, using the #MindBlown and #SurprisedYouDidntWe hash tags.

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Credit: Microsoft

Azure AD B2B and B2Care aimed at providing secure authentication across on-premises, cloud and hybrid configuration. While Microsoft designed B2C for developers who want to build apps and services that can authenticate with consumer identity services like Facebook and Google, Azure AD B2B is for authenticating between business-to-business partners. Azure AD B2B also is for external collaboration in Office 365.

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"External sharing in Office 365 (OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Unified Groups, etc.) and Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) B2B collaboration are technically the same thing. All external sharing (except OneDrive/SharePoint Online), including guests in Office 365 Groups, already uses the Azure AD B2B collaboration invitation APIs for sharing," explains Microsoft.

Up until now, Microsoft has required users to have an Azure AD or Microsoft Account to use Azure AD B2B. Google "is the first third-party identity provider that Azure AD supports," Simons blogged. (Currently, only Google IDs with @gmail.com are supported.)

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In other Microsoft identity news, Microsoft also announced this week that the Microsoft Authenticator app for Apple Watch is in public preview and will be generally available "within the next few weeks." The Microsoft Authenticator on Apple Watch allows users to approve sign-in notifications that require PINs or biometric input on their Apple Watches without having to use their phones.

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