Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

Summary: Updated: Google on Monday outlined its Google Friend Connect, a service that promises to insert social features into any application and any site.Sound familiar?

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Updated: Google on Monday outlined its Google Friend Connect, a service that promises to insert social features into any application and any site.

Sound familiar? It is. MySpace has its friend connect service and Facebook has its version.

Add it up and you have a good old fashioned ground war over this question: Is social networking a feature or a destination site? For Facebook, the answer so far is that latter--of course it would love you to carry it around to other sites. Simply put, everyone wants to be the suitcase that carries your social graph.

On a conference call, David Glazer, director of engineering at Google, acknowledged that the newfound open standards surrounding social networks is good for the Web and Google. "Social activity has been limited, bottled up by a handful of sites," said Glazer.

According to Google:

Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social -- and now they can be, easily. With Google Friend Connect, 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.

The tug of war is over control and the ground war is just beginning. Who controls these friend repositories? Even in an age of open data there will be aggregation winners. If Google's OpenSocial gang disperses these networks then Facebook has issues. If Facebook succeeds with its walled garden approach, it stays a winner. Google's plan: Adopt social standards and APIs from everywhere to let folks connect. The potential for Google: Be the friend aggregator.

Lump in ad revenue and it's highly likely that Google will get a few sites to go along with Google Friend Connect.

Dan Farber reports:

I asked Glazer if Friend Connect is a response to Facebook Connect and MySpace.com's Data Availability. "People will speculate a lot in that direction. We didn't create this code in the three days (since Facebook and MySpace made their announcements)."

Unlike Facebook and MySpace, Google lacks a dominant, centralized social-networking hub. Friend Connect works the edges of the Internet, applying an open and distributed approach, and bringing a social dimension to the 99-plus percent of sites that aren't socially enabled.

And let's not forget Yahoo. Last month, Yahoo launched its Open Strategy with plans to infuse social networking throughout its sites. The message: Social networking is a feature not a destination.

Time will tell who is right.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Browser, Collaboration, Google, Networking, Software Development

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16 comments
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  • Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

    Gotta love how Google is always playing the "me too!" card on their services. If only they spent more time innovating instead of copying others and sitting around playing with office toys. This service will be forgotten in a year like their other services.
    Loverock Davidson
    • what wrong lovy

      you scared that there office toy beat the crap out of MS office .........

      everybody does the me too thingy that all .....
      there no one better than they other .
      Quebec-french
      • Hilarious

        I didn't mention Microsoft but you did. Is your envy with them that bad?
        Loverock Davidson
  • RE: Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

    This is obviously going to be an interesting battle, Google did quite well out of news aggregation (after the law-suits finished) so will that plan work again for Social communities?

    If their developer tools are good enough I'd be willing to start implementing them, and the interface for their gadgets being XML seems nice and easy.

    In my mind I can't help but feel like the 'Google Social Gang' might have the same success as Google Videos, let's see if its union with Hi5, etc... will hold it strong.

    http://www.thoughtden.co.uk/
    Thought Dan
  • When will this "friend" fad pass?

    Am I the only one who thinks all this "social networking" stuff is stupid?!
    PB_z
    • No, don't worry, you are not the only stupid person in the world!

      Social networking is taking off. It is a new way for people to make contacts online, for friendship, professional, etc.
      DonnieBoy
    • "friend" fad pass?

      I agree with ya here. The whole thing is silly, talking someone online when people could get off their butts and simply walk outside and meet a neighboor, most won't talk to a stranger on the street but will buddy up to someone online and call it buddy's or friends. It's rather pathetic.
      aussieblnd
    • It won't

      Until everyone else on the planet has the chance to get sick of it
      debuggist
  • RE: Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

    Yet another way to track people and send them advertising.
    dwr50
  • RE: Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

    I hope this "Friend" fad doesn't fade away.
    Why, I just posted on Twitter that I broke wind, silently, in the Arby's line.
    I mean, isn't what the internet is all about?
    c4kays
    • Facebook ground war

      Well thanks for sharing that C4! Ewww... I gather you have not heard the Phrase "TOO MUCH information!"
      aussieblnd
  • RE: Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

    I hope it works better than MySpace. I spent about 2 weeks denying all the PORN people wanting to be my friend before I deleted my page.
    maschwab
  • RE: Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

    whooaaa its happening! - data portability ultimately means any content on any site may be mashed with/from/into another - sites are no longer single-source, they are becoming patchworks of other sites' data.

    good thing is we and others can add this functionality cheaply and enable our users to present, say, facebook content in our environment
    bad thing is it reduces the differentiation level such features would have given us with specialist tools

    in balance, its a good thing and is part of the predicted data portability stampede that was sparked by the still flakey and hackable opensocial initiative we welcome the trend
    briarsman
  • RE: No, don't worry, you are not the only stupid person in the world!

    Social networking is for the socially impaired. I know way to many people that spend so much time on these sites that they don't perform well in normal social environments. The art of conversation and generally meeting and interacting with people face to face is dying out.

    Get a grip all you social networking rejects. Life is way more interesting then stupid websites.

    What ever happened to calling someone up, or popping round their house, or even writing a letter. Try it some time, you might like it!
    mrppea
  • RE: Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

    Looks like Google is playing catch up!
    bbd_diva
  • RE: Google kicks off its Facebook ground war

    You can find some google friend connect sites across at gfcdirectory[dot]com

    My personal take is anything that enables social enablement growth is a good thing, not just for google but the whole internet.
    zabaroptik