This is interesting. Basically, sometime tonight you’ll be able to grab a snippet of code and install it on your site/blog allowing you to combine that site with your activities in various social networks…
Google Press Center: News Announcement: “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.”
Here are some of the more “long tail” implications of Friend Connect:
“Google Friend Connect is about helping the ‘long tail’ of sites become more social,” said David Glazer, a director of engineering at Google. “Many sites aren’t explicitly social and don’t necessarily want to be social networks, but they still benefit from letting their visitors interact with each other. That used to be hard. Fortunately, there’s an emerging wave of social standards — OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, and the data access APIs published by Facebook, Google, MySpace, and others. Google Friend Connect builds on these standards to let people easily connect with their friends, wherever they are on the web, making ‘any app, any site, any friends’ a reality.”
And here are the immediate benefits possible:
Without requiring coding experience, Google Friend Connect gives site owners a way to attract and engage more people by giving visitors a way to connect with friends on their websites.
Drive traffic: people who discover interesting sites can bring their friends with them, and can opt-in to publish their activities on those sites back into their social network, attracting even more visitors.
Increase engagement: access to friends and OpenSocial applications provides more interesting content and richer social experiences.
Less work: any site can have social components without hiring a programming team or becoming a social network.
I see this as the culmination of the widget craze that swept the online world in 2007 and a way to start bringing in tangible benefits for website owners and bloggers. In other words, the more efficient back-and-forth between social networks and sites/blogs will only increase traffic and exposure for both (if the person behind them is interesting, relevant or adds something to the viewers’ lives).