Google’s Friend Connect brings social networking to any website

5 Dec 2008

Google has unleashed an application by which any website can add social applications to their site.

The application is now available in beta to any webmaster that Google says is looking to “add a dash of social” to their website.

The service allows webmasters to add social features to their sites by simply copying and pasting a few lines of code.

“We know that people want to be social on the web, and Friend Connect makes it easy for anyone to sign in to a website, share a little bit about themselves through a personal profile, discover other people with similar interests, invite their contacts and interact with friends,” said product manager, Mussie Shore.

“Even better, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of creating yet another username and password — Friend Connect lets you log in using an existing account from Google, Yahoo!, AOL, or OpenID.

“Similarly, you can choose to either establish a new profile or use profiles and friend sources from other social networks that have opened up their services, such as Plaxo and Orkut,” Shore wrote in the official Google blog.

Google launched Friend Connect as a preview application in May, and since then has been working closely with a handful of website owners, social networks and application developers to improve its speed and scalability, ease of use, and customisation capabilities.

It has also expanded the features available to users, with richer, more integrated profiles and new ways to discuss and share content, such as including YouTube videos in your comments.

“Friend Connect’s goal is to facilitate an open social web. Using open standards such as OpenID and OAuth, Friend Connect makes it simple for people to instantly interact with one another on the sites they already love to visit.

“Additionally, websites that use Friend Connect become OpenSocial containers, capable of running applications created by the OpenSocial developer community,” Shore added.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years