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May 15, 2008

Google Friend Connect

This did the rounds fairly extensively on Twitter yesterday but is still worth a mention here...

Google have announced Friend Connect (currently on a limited beta release as far as I can tell) which "lets you grow traffic by easily adding social features to your website".  The following video gives a nice introduction to its use:

I haven't yet worked out if this is anything more than a set of widgets that allow you to layer social features onto an existing non-social Web site or whether it provides APIs that support proper integration with your local content and services?

Whatever... there's no doubt that it is an interesting development, and one that deserves more investigation, especially as we begin to see growing dissatisfaction with Facebook.  Google Friend Connect would, for example, have allowed us to add social features to the main symposium Web site this year, without needing to go out and create a separate social network on Ning.  Having said that, I have to confess that the example sites aren't very compelling currently.


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Good questions, Andy. I immediately tried to work out how this Friend Connect could be integrated into an existing blog's comment system, but there just isn't enough information out there yet to put the pieces together. I wonder if this would be an effective way to added social networking tools to decidedly unsocial OPAC displays. For the most part, I'm guessing probably not because the URLs aren't consistent. (In some systems they are persistent but that isn't necessarily the same as consistent.)

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