Google’s Friend connect has launched and gives web site owners the ability to add social features (within an iframe) to their existing websites. The code is a a cut and paste scenario and is not much more difficult then pasting adsense code.
I have to hand it to Google, they continue to create feature rich services that possess consistent UIs (user interface) and dead simple to implement. Friend Connect has a standard sign in and import feature from several social networks like Facebook and of course Orkut.
What is really interesting is that Google used the publicly available Facebook API because Facebook is not part of the open social movement. Friend Connect shows the power of data portability through the use of API’s and open standards.The pre-release of Friend Connect has internal or core social features developed by Google like rating system, friend import etc… users will have the ability to add any application developed for open social by external developers as well.
As far a privacy issues go…..well that continues to be an evolving battle. Google will have the ability to aggregate social information on users much the same way Google has gathered information regarding your website. After all Google is in the advertising business and gathering information is the honey for the advertising bees.
I will be implementing Friend Connect for StartupAddict.com as soon as Google lets me. For those of you new to this blog, StartupAddict.com is a vertical social network for entrepreneurs and startups launched last year. The site is built on open source Drupal and I feel Google Friend connect will add additional dynamic social information to the startup network. More importantly it will allow the existing and new user base to import friends and interact very easily enhancing site growth and eliminating the need for my developers to create drupal modules to facilitate this functionality.
I’m very excited about friend connect and how it will advance the social graph and interoperability among multiple social networks.
Additional coverage on Google Friend Connect: