The latest technology that Google is about to launch is known as ‘Friend Connect’. Although they have been talking about it since May, it now looks as though it is finally ready to be launched publicly.
Friend Connect allows webmasters to integrate applications built on the OpenSocial platform in order to introduce a social element to their site. It enables development of a quasi-“social” site through which people will be able to do various things such as invitating other users, posting messages and comments, playing games and forming member galleries.
As the name suggests, the new service is meant to appeal to consumers by helping connect people to one another on any site, not just on social networks like Facebook, and thus enlarge their groups and contacts greatly, turning the whole World Wide Web into a social network of sorts.
Google Friend Connect
A video on the Friend Connect site introducing the new service promises that the service will be extremely user friendly, and will require no technical skills or knowledge whatsoever. Website owners will just have to make a few clicks at appropriate places and copy and paste a few snippets of code into their site.
Site visitors will be able to use the features offered via Friend Connect by simply signing in with their usual Google Account, Yahoo! login or OpenID.
Some sites already using Friend Connect are showcased on the site. They have integrated basic features such as comments and user galleries that would be available via a standard WordPress blog installation. While these services are basic and unlikely to impress any seasoned webmaster, a host of new applications that might be released by third-party developers on the OpenSocial network could allow non-technical blog and site owners to choose engaging social features for their sites.
Friend Connect could also attract more visitors as users can invite other users from various social networks and contact lists they use, thus setting up a sort of chain reaction where one user can introduce all his contacts and friends to one another, thus multiplying the website’s visitor numbers.
The only surprise here is that Google seems to have let its rivals Yahoo! and Microsoft race ahead of itself this time as they have entered the social network market earlier.