This morning I received an email from Orli Yakuel notifying me that I had been invited to a community on her website. Later in the morning I saw that Marshall Kirkpatrick had been invited as well. The service enables you to view other people, both friends and non-friends, that are members of that website’s community. I was actually pretty impressed with the service.
While this is clearly a first shot at making the service work, Google is now the first company to push their service live. This is only a preview version though which is being used for testing purposes. The coolest part of the service is that you can invite your other friends who are also contacts within your Gmail. This is pretty much the same as the invite form Facebook provided application developers with on their platform.
Currently there is nothing you can do from the Friend Connect service aside from joining a community and adding a friend but by installing other gadgets which integrate into Friend Connect on your website, you will be able to instantly build a community on your own site. Honestly, this is huge and it theoretically gives website owners the ability to build communities on their site piece by piece without having to do any of the programming.
After seeing this in action i also have realized that in “out opening Facebook” they have also out opened other widget platforms. Friend Connect has ultimately become the first social widget platform. This enables anybody to instantly generate communities from their own site by leveraging the resources of other developers.
I hadn’t realized it before but I think that the race to open all of these platforms is ultimately one of the greatest driving forces behind the widgetizing of the web. One other thing to note is how Google prominently displays “Disabled by Facebook” within the Friend Connect settings page (pictured below). After seeing this new service in action, I doubt that there is any way Facebook will end up participating in Google Friend Connect.
The competition has now become fierce and the race is on to become the largest social platform of the public web. I’m excited to see how Friend Connect and competing offerings continue to evolve over the coming months.
FriendConnect Community Settings
FriendConnect Invite Form