This program has been in private beta for a while now -- but just recently it was opened up for everyone to use. Friend Connect is an extremely simple way to make any website you have a bit more social -- people that "join" your site (which I think can be confusing when you already have a mechanism for users to sign up) can use embedded Google gadgets which take advantage of Google's Open Social API.
Members of your site can also easily invite their friends or share your site on popular social services like MySpace, Facebook, del.icio.us, Digg, Fark, StumbleUpon, Live Spaces and Mixx.
Adding Friend Connect to your website couldn't be easier. Here's how to get started:
- Go to http://www.google.com/friendconnect
- Click "Set up a new site"
- Go through the set-up wizard -- It will ask you to download a couple files to put in the root directory of your website
- Copy the code it generates for you, and paste it where you want your first gadget to go
Out of the box, there are a few gadgets that you can easily install on your website in their directory -- these include gadgets like Members, Wall, and one to Review/Rate things. If you are skilled at making Google gadgets, it's pretty straight forward to make one that can take advantage of Open Social features.
What do you think of the new Friend Connect service?