Google to Connect Friends Across Websites with Google Friend Connect

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Google has released a Preview Version of Friend Connect, a new service that lets website owners easily add social networking features.

For website owners the benefits of Google Friend Connect are clear; adding social networking features to an already popular site encourages visitors to stay longer, engaging with other users and with new and updated content, as well as providing content of their own in the form of comments, reviews and message board entries. Before now, equipping a site with this kind of capability required site owners to leap a considerable barrier, in development cost and resources, and ongoing maintenance effort.


With Google Friend Connect, though, site owners simply choose from a catalog of ‘social gadgets’ provided by Google or other developers, and paste the proffered code snippet into their site HTML source code; Google gadgets include membership management, message forums, picture sharing and reviews. Many of the third party applications written to the OpenSocial standard for social applications can also be added to a site that is Friend Connect-enabled.

This is a watershed week for interoperability and data exchange across social networking sites. We wrote earlier this week about Data Portability, the two summits in California this week, and the initiatives made in this area by both MySpace and Facebook. Friend Connect has Google not just dipping their toes into the Data Portability waters, but wading in up to their collectives waists.

Consider the membership management gadget from Google. With this gadget added to your Friend Connect-enabled site, site visitors are able to sign-in using their existing Google, Yahoo, AIM or OpenID account details. Once signed-in they can access and reuse the relationships they’ve already established at other social networking sites; with one click they can invite their friends to your site and instantly share their provided content across multiple social networks.

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While none of these initiatives from Google, Facebook or MySpace delivers full portability of data – the Data Portability Workgroup are still working through development of the specifications and standards – the movements in this area show that social networking sites are becoming more comfortable with site members having access to their own data, even across networking sites. With one fundamental pillar of the DataPortability.org philosophy being “you should be able to decide what you do with your data and how it gets used by others”, we hope that users will be able to explicitly permit or deny (the default being to deny) access to their data, at a fairly fine degree of granularity. After all, unsafe data portability means that everyone has access to your data, and not one of us, user or social networking site owner, wants that.

No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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One thought on “Google to Connect Friends Across Websites with Google Friend Connect

  1. Website owners/publishers will want as much data as possible from Friend Connect though wouldn’t they?

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