New Google Friend Connect tool helps sites be more friendly

Allows Web sites to add social networking features

Google is introducing a Web site tool called Friend Connect today that promises to extend the reach of social networks such as Facebook to any site that wants to use the tool. Those sites that decide to use Friend Connect can give visitors a much richer Web experience allowing even the smallest of Web sites the ability to leverage the enormous popularity of social networks.

Google is far from the first to offer ways to mishmash content, IDs and passwords between sites. In fact, as CNET's News.com and TechNewsWorld point out there is a dizzying number of similar data portability technologies being developed from Facebook Connect, MySpace Data Availability, and OpenID, DataPortabilit.

Google says its approach will be easier to use for Web site owners to implement. The code will be available later tonight from http://www.google.com/friendconnect.

How friend connect works

The way it works is any site that wants to can add Friend Connect functionality to their site can simply by adding a bit of HTML code to their site. The Friend Connect feature on a site acts as a small peephole on a Web page allowing content from a preselected social network (including Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo and others) to be viewed within the predefined window.

In this way, Friend Connect seems to just be a way to pull information in from existing networks, almost like how it's possible to embed YouTube videos on your site with limited functionality. Similarly Friend Connect allows Web site visitors to "see, invite, and interact with new friends, or... with existing friends from social sites on the Web," as Google put it.

In one example of how Google Friend Connect will work the artist Ingrid Michaelson on her Web site will embed a Friend Connect window into her site which will contain content from the social music site iLike. Google explains: "fans who visit Ingrid's site can connect with their friends without having to leave the site. Visitors will be able to see comments by friends from their social networks, add music to their profiles, see who is attending concerts, and enjoy other features of the iLike application, all at Ingrid's website."

For users, Friend Connect-enabled sites can sidestep having to create an account for yet another social network. If a site adds Friend Connect code for Facebook, for example, you'll be able to sign up as a member using your Facebook login and see which of your Facebook friends are members of the site too.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Doug Aamoth

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?