Google Announces Friend Connect

Google has made its official announcement about Friend Connect, the service launching at tonight’s Google Campfire event. According to the press release, Google Friend Connect enables “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.”

Members of Friend Connect include Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more. Yes, you heard that right, Facebook is one of the launch partners with Friend Connect. This may be the reason both Facebook and Google decided to use the same name: they’re using the same platform. One big announcement with this is that iLike will extend to band websites as well. Hadi Partovi, President of iLike is quoted in the press release, “Friend Connect is a significant opportunity for iLike, artists, and fans. The iLike Artist DashboardTM will be the first content-management system that allows artists not only to post their songs, concerts, and videos to every leading social network from one dashboard, but also to simultaneously manage the content on their own websites.”

This is huge news and it also sounds like the widgetization of applications. Social applications that have existed within the framework of social networking sites for the past year will now extend to other websites. While the logistics of how this will work have not been revealed, expect many more details to be presented at Google’s event later tonight.

The activities of users on external sites will be published within social networks inherently making the external sites more viral. This is a huge deal and makes the rest of 2008 an interesting year for social application developers. The best part of this is that users that would like to embed social applications on their website will need no prior coding experience. This is a huge announcement and a continuation of the big announcements we saw last week. Read more about it via the Google press release.

Google has stated that they aren’t officially a partner with Facebook on this launch. Not sure why they mentioned it in their press release.