Google’s Friend Connect aims to make web social

13 May 2008

A new service from Google, with one line of code, will now allow websites to easily add a social networking element to their site rather than linking to a large networking portal like Facebook or MySpace to connect to their audience.

Friend Connect does not require programming knowledge and uses Google’s resources and back-end technology to provide functionality, including “user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews”.

This service will also allow the site to plug and play any third-party applications developed to work with Google’s other social web project – OpenSocial – which is a forum for free exchange of widgets or web apps that are being used across iGoogle, Bebo, LinkedIn, MySpace and others.

This will most likely mean that several popular widgets already used on the likes of Facebook and Bebo, like photo display service RockYou, can now be slotted into any website via Friend connect.

The first third-party application to be officially promoted by Friend Connect is the iLike Artist Dashboard.

“It 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,” says Hadi Partovi, president of iLike.

“Many sites aren’t explicitly social and don’t necessarily want to be social networks, but they still benefit from letting their visitors interact with each other,” says David Glazer, a director of engineering at Google.

“That used to be hard. Fortunately, there’s an emerging wave of social standards – OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, and the data access APIs published by Facebook, Google, MySpace, and others.

“Google Friend Connect builds on these standards to let people easily connect with their friends, wherever they are on the web, making ‘any app, any site, any friends’ a reality.”

Friend Connect is available on some white-listed websites.

By Marie Boran