Google’s Friend Connect Arrives (Tonight)

Must admit, I’m intrigued by Google Friend Connect (Note: Not up yet. Later tonight.)

The details are here: Google Press Center: News Announcement.

Lots of other people are, of course, buzzing about it. See Techmeme: Previewing Google Friend Connect: Website owners can make any site social (Sean Carlson/Google).

Now, since it is just launching, I’m not too sure we can take advantage of it in this semester’s classes, but I’ll hope. I’d like for all students to be able to get an account. But, Google is rolling it out piece meal, like they usually do with Beta releases.

What’s The Benefit?

What might it do? offer to our student projects? Well, it can make a digital resume a social site, for instance. Would we want to do that? I don’t know, but some aspects seem compelling. The simplest explanation comes from the release above, “any website owner can add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming — picking and choosing from built-in functionality like user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.”

Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social — and now they can be, easily. With Google Friend Connect, any website owner can add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming — picking and choosing from built-in functionality like user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.

Visitors to any site using Google Friend Connect will be able to see, invite, and interact with new friends, or, using secure authorization APIs, with existing friends from social sites on the web, including Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more.

So, although we wouldn’t want to necessarily add that info to the resume, we can put it on a sub-page. The student uses that to build their own network over time. Also, what about potential employers and internship providers that are digital adopters and want to connect with the student in their social networks? Well, now you can do it on your own domain.

Does it change the rules?

No, but it can change the opportunities.

Best practices will still rule. In fact, they are going to become even more important. This is, after all, as much an opportunity to screw up your online reputation as it is to enhance it. ;o) Translation: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t show Grandma and Grandpa.

I’ll be watching and signing up. Hope for a quick invite for me. No. I’m not holding my breath. ;o)

This could turn out to be a really good, easy way to explore socializing a site, while not spending too much time on coding and more. After all, we’re developing PR practitoners, not creating developers and coders.

Update: Well, I have (of course) not yet been graced with an invite to Google’s Friend Connect. Big shock. But, I have seen more talk about it out on the Web. Something I have since learned is the possibility that all of these new tools will be in an iframe. What’s that? Well, let’s call it a page within a page, or a frame (featuring content from other sites) inside an HTML page. Um, that’s not really “integrated” now is it. Hmm? See Google Friend Connect Tries to Strangle the Social – ReadWriteWeb (Hat tip: Google Friend Connect – Error 404 – Your Friends Not Found | My Blog Posts)

Well, this makes me a bit less energetic about the whole project. I’d still like to see it and try it for classes, but I was really hoping for something a bit more truly integrated. Still, I have yet to see the service, so I’m reserving my final opinion until later.

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