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May 12, 2008

NEWS: Google Confirms Friend Connect

Google Confirms Friend Connect

from TechCrunch by 


As we reported on Friday, Google will be launching its own Data Portability effort called Friend Connect. It will be announcing more details later tonight, but in a press release this morning it confirms:

Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social — and now they can be, easily. With Google Friend Connect (see http://www.google.com/friendconnect following this evening’s Campfire One), 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.

Friend Connect will work with existing standards such as OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, as well as with data access APIs from Facebook, Google, and MySpace. The announcement comes on the heels of similar announcements from MySpace and Facebook (MySpace’s Data Availability andFacebook Connect). As Michael noted on Friday:

The reason these companies are rushing to get products out the door is because whoever is a player in this space is likely to control user data over the long run. If users don’t have to put profile and friend information into multiple sites, they will gravitate towards one site that they identify with, and then allow other sites to access that data.

Official: Google’s ‘Friend Connect’ brings social networking to the Long Tail

from The Social Web by In case you didn't think Google wanted to be a big player on the Social Web -- Orkut, Google Talk and shared items in Google Reader aside -- the search giant revealed an ambitious new strategy today: 'Friend Connect' is a platform designed to help the 'long tail' of sites that don't currently offer social networking features to become more social.

Facebook makes its own ‘data portability’ move, Google to follow?

from The Social Web by 
Not to be outdone by MySpace's "Data Availability" initiative, Facebook announced on Friday its own data portability strategy dubbed "Facebook Connect". Described as "the next iteration of Facebook Platform" the new feature will allow users to "connect" their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to participating sites -- implying that Facebook will expand its current public APIs to enable more of Facebook's data to have a life outside of Facebook. It's not clear, however, if participating sites will need to have formal agreements with Facebook or simply comply with Connect's terms of service.

Social Data Portability: Will It Affect Advertising?

Suddenly all the social networking majors are racing to see who can break down their own walls the fastest -- and in the case of Google, to make the switch from sheet rock to plumbing, if you'll forgive an overstretched metaphor.

Shortly after News Corp. announced its data portability initiative last week, Facebook chimed in with its own proposal to give users control over their identities. Called Facebook Connect, the initiative will launch in the next few weeks and allow Facebook users to carry their basic profile information, friends and privacy settings around with them. "We believe the next evolution of data portability is about much more than data," the company stated in a blog post Friday. "It's about giving users the ability to take their identity and friends with them around the Web, while being able to trust that their information is always up to date and always protected by their privacy settings."

Google meanwhile announced Friend Connect, a project to help any site owner add social capabilities. According to Google, visitors to any site using the service "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." MySpace was not mentioned in the announcement, which is odd given it's part of Google's Open Social platform geared toward third party app developers.

What do these data portability initiatives mean for advertising? That may depend on who wins the right to host and manage large numbers of consumer profiles. If it's a private entity such as Google, MySpace or Facebook, profile portability will lead to new forms of contextual and behavioral targeting. For instance, imagine Facebook's Beacon and Social Ads programs reinvented to offer alerts and ads that take into account your interactions on thousands of sites. On the other hand, if a non-profit such as the Mozilla Foundation wins the right to manage your data in this fashion, such an outcome would seem less likely.

On another level, marketers who want to add more interactivity and social features on their Web sites may be able to work with Friend Connect to achieve that. Ning and MyBlogLog offer different services along similar lines. The former is a white label social networking platform. The latter is a system for tracking and publishing profiles of your site visitors, and allowing them to interact with each other. 

Ed: stay tuned. More conversation will surely emerge. 

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