Google Friend Connect

Google has just launched (in Beta and made available to a limited number of site owners) Google Friend Connect.

This came out of Google’s Open Social Project, which is the idea of Spreading Social Applications over the web and ‘unlocked’ closed-wall Social network sites.

What Google Friend Connect does for you is allow you to easily add social features to your site — from comments, ratings and reviews, to photo uploaders, etc.

Normally adding this functionality is time consuming and difficult, and therefore expensive and beyond the reach of most. Plus, visitors would have to create a username and password just for your site.

With Google Friend Connect, you can add these types of community features, but the big payoff comes from leveraging visitors’ existing social ties. By simply copying and pasting a few lines of JavaScript, visitors can connect their network of friends on Facebook, hi5, orkut, linkedin and other friends, directly onto your website.

Once a member of your site, there are two ways they can share your site with their friends:

  • Invitations. Clicking on the invite link presents your visitors with all their contacts and friends from their social networks. Invitations are delivered to friends within their respective social networks.
  • Activity feeds. Your visitors may also opt-in to publishing activities to their social networks. A post to your message board, for example, can instantly be visible to people in multiple social networks, along with links leading to your site.

Google Friend Connect

This could be another huge shift in the Internet or maybe not. Only time will tell, but I think it is a definite game changer for small to medium business owners.

I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place.”
Winston Churchill