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Google Released Friend Connect Beta

(May 15, 2008)

Google launched a preview of Friend Connect, a web service that allows you to add social features to a Web site without programming.

"The Web is getting better by getting more social. We've baked social features into the infrastructure of the Web, and it is not tied to any particular site," said David Glazer, director of engineering at Google. "Users can interact with any of their friends anywhere they go on Web, and with any app."

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Google`s new social web service differs from Facebook and MySpace lacking dominant, centralized social-networking hub. Revolutionary Friend Connect applies an open and distributed approach, and brings a social dimension to the 99-plus percent of sites that aren't socially enabled. So, websites that are not social networks may still offer dozens of social gadgets created by Google and OpenSocial developers to their visitors.

Friend Connect-compliant sites will be able to view, invite, and interact with newfound friends, or with existing friends, from established social-networking sites, including Facebook, Google Talk, Hi5, Orkut, and Plaxo via secure authorization application-programming interfaces. Currently only a few sample sites are available to end users.

Google Friend Connect provides a core set of social gadgets such as member management, message board, reviews, and picture-sharing. The key gadget is the members gadget. This gadget provides core social features for your visitors:

  • sign-in with their existing Google, Yahoo, AIM, or OpenID account
  • invite and show activity to existing friends from social networks such as Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more
  • browse member profiles across social networks
  • connect with new friends on your site

Check out this sample site created by Google for demonstrating Friend Connect features.

According to Google, accommodating Friend Connect to your site will result in:

  • attracting more visitors - visitors bring along friends from social networks like Facebook, orkut, and others to interact on your site.
  • enriching your site with social features - choose engaging social features from a catalog of gadgets provided by Google and the OpenSocial developer community.
  • no programming - just copy and paste snippets of code into your site, and Google Friend Connect does the rest.

"The distributed model has worked well for the Web. That is what the Web does - many points of light loosely coupled and massively distributed, allowing users to connect to pages of information," Glazer told. "Now it is working to connect people to other people."

For more information on Friend Connect, please check here.

Note: Google Friend Connect Preview is being made available to a limited number of site owners as it approaches general availability. If you are interested in participating, Google suggests you to fill out this short form. You will be notified if you are approved as a partner.

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