“Website owners can make any site social!” This is the claim of Google with it up and coming service, Friend Connect, which aims to aid in adding social features to a website without any programming involved.
Google’s director of engineering David Glazer described Friend Connect as plumbing for the rest of the web. “The Web is getting better by getting more social. We’ve baked social features into the infrastructure of the Web, and it is not tied to any particular site,” Glazer said. “Users can interact with any of their friends anywhere they go on Web, and with any app.”
As declared by Google in their Press Center, websites that are not social networks can still be social through Friend Connect. But with only a preview page to contain people’s excitement, many people still wonder as to how exactly would Friend Connect work.
Connecting With Friend Connect
Google’s Friend Connect needs to, of course, connect to your website for exchange of applications. Designed to keep you in charge of your website’s data, Friend Connect can link your website to social networks. However, Google prevented being compared to spamming malware by stating that they will “never store social graph data from other sites, and we never pass users’ social network IDs to Friend Connected sites or applications.”
Fears at rest, let’s explore what Friend Connect will allow us to do with our websites in the near future.
- Google Friend Connect puts users in control over whether they’re connected to their data on Facebook.
- Google Friend Connect only reads a small amount of user data from Facebook, and does so using Facebook’s public APIs. We read the Facebook numeric id, friendly name, and public photo URLs of the user and their friends. We read no other information.
- The only user information that we pass from Facebook to third-party applications is the URL of the user’s public photo.
- Google Friend Connect does not permanently store any user data retrieved from Facebook.
For more updates on these four, you can check out “How Google Friend Connect Works” by Peter Chane, Sami Shalabi, Mussie Shore.
Will people buy what Friend Connect promised to shell out? I really don’t know, because there are more and more about this application network being doubted by many.
First, it doesn’t really secure a user’s content for the user, so the control factor becomes somewhat questionable.
Second, Google relations to popular application-based websites like Facebook are still shaky that launching the whole Friend Connect service might just end up a flop.
Third (and the last for now), I don’t think that it would be easy squeezing all of those user data and chosen apps into that small iFrame. I mean, what happened to the simple read-write-execute trio?
Forcing all three on an app in that small iFrame, not to mention the multitudes of applications that the user would want in that iFrame, would spell out complexity for me. So much for interconnecting the web in an easy format, don’t you think?