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Google Friend Connect: Making Your Website Social
Monday, May 12, 2008
Over the past 18 months or so there has been a real fascination with social networks. Not just for individuals, but for businesses and organizations, social networking questions are the topic of many a discussion. So it was only a matter of time until the major search engines would be looking at social networks as another service offering or advertising environment. In fact Microsoft even purchased a 1.5% stake in popular social network Facebook. Rumors were persisting that both Google and Yahoo were looking to enter the social networking game, in fact Yahoo even launched Kickstart an online social network that connects college students, grads and alumni.

Enter Google Friend Connect.... earlier today, Google announced a new endeavor that will allow website owners to make any site social. According to Google, "... Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social.." the result is Google Friend Connect. http://www.google.com/friendconnect (Interestingly enough the URL returned a broken link this morning.)

The project will allow site owners to insert social features to their websites that will help drive additional traffic to their site. Here's how it works. A website owner simply adds a snippet of code to their site to get social network features running on their website. They can select built-in functionality including things such as:
  • user registration
  • invitations
  • message posting
  • reviews
  • third party applications available via Open Social
Once set up, visitors to the site who are using Google Friend Connect will be able to see, inviute and interact with new friends. In addition with authorization APIs, users will be able to interact with existing friends from Facebook, hi5, Orkut and Google Talk.

Judging from the initial response, many like what they are seeing with Google Friend Connect.
"We want to bring ourselves to every eyeball, not bring every eyeball to us," said Hadi Partovi, President of iLike. "Friend Connect is a significant opportunity for iLike, artists, and fans. The iLike Artist Dashboard™ will be the first content-management system that allows artists not only to post their songs, concerts, and videos to every leading social network from one dashboard, but also to simultaneously manage the content on their own websites."
What I like about Google Friend Connect is that it solves the issue of having to create a new login and password for each and every social network that I sign up for. In addition the fact that sites do not have to create and setup their own social network is great because I find that there are currently too many "irrelevant" social sites out there. Google Friend Connect can simply let sites become more social by allowing visitors to interact with one another. This could definitely work. I could see this becoming extremely populat a la forums and blogs.

Benefits of Google Friend Connect
  • Ease of Setup - you don't have to be a programmer to set up Google Friend Connect
  • Ease of Use - once set up, it's very easy to adjust and easy for visitors to start using.
  • Social Networking without Starting a Social Network - you do not need to hire a team to plan out, set up and monitor your own social network. You can use social networking features on your own website without the hassle of setting up an actual social network.
  • Increase User Interaction / Site Stickiness - talk about a great way to drive traffic to your site and have them stick around longer. Through the social network aspect people will let their friends know about your site (providing that they have had a positive experience on it)
Friend Connect will work with existing standards such as OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, as well as with data access APIs from Facebook, Google, and MySpace.

More details are to be released this evening at the Googleplex with their Campfire One session.


posted by Jody @ 8:05 AM  
  • At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Swanky said…

    Thanks :)

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