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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Grow Your Website Traffic With Google Friend Connect

Google Friend Connect is a new service offered by Google that lets you grow traffic by easily adding social features to your website. With just a few snippets of code, you get more people engaging more deeply with your site.

Attract more visitors. Visitors bring along friends from social  networks like Facebook, orkut, and others to interact on your site.

Enrich your site with social features. Choose engaging social features from a catalog of gadgets provided by Google and the OpenSocial developer community.

No programming whatsoever. Just copy and paste snippets of code into your site, and Google Friend Connect does the rest.

Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social. But the barriers to offering social applications on the site have been considerable. Google Friend Connect changes this by enabling any site to offer dozens of social gadgets created by Google and OpenSocial developers to their visitors. This means more visitors spending more time on a more engaging website -- with absolutely no programming required to make it happen.

As a site owner, Friend Connect provides you the ability to add social features to your site, without writing code.

Watch this video for more details:

Here's how it works:

Google Friend Connect Administration site. The Friend Connect administration site presents a catalog of social gadgets provided by Google and other developers. You choose gadgets based on your site's needs. Simply copy code snippets for these gadgets and paste them as desired into your site.

Google Friend Connect Webmaster Site

Social gadgets created by Google. Google Friend Connect provides a core set of social gadgets such as member management, message board, reviews, and picture-sharing. The key gadget is the members gadget. This gadget provides core social features for your visitors:

  • sign-in with their existing Google, Yahoo, AIM, or OpenID account
  • invite and show activity to existing friends from social networks such as Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more
  • browse member profiles across social networks
  • connect with new friends on your site

Social gadgets created by other developers. For the past year, the developer community has been creating hundreds of applications for OpenSocial, an open standard for social applications. Once you have added Friend Connect to your site, you can offer many of these applications to your users, simply by pasting the relevant snippet into your site.

OpenSocial Diagram

Once you have added the members gadget, and the additional social gadgets, your visitors can start inviting their friends and more deeply engage with your site.

Reaping the rewards

Google Friend Connect integrates with contact lists for social networks like Facebook, orkut and Google Talk. This means users who join your site are instantly connected with friends who are already members, and can invite friends from other networks to visit. They can opt in to broadcasting their activities to friends in their social networks. A post to your message board, for example, can instantly be visible to people in multiple social networks, along with links leading to your site. These instant networks, combined with the wealth of OpenSocial gadgets, can form potent new online communities, very quickly and very easily.

Federate Social Networks

And when a visitor goes to a second site with Friend Connect, the process is even simpler. The visitor simply clicks "Accept", sets privacy options for the site, and they're in. There's no need to set up their account or link in their social networks again.

Please note: this is a preview release. Google Friend Connect is being made available to a limited number of site owners as it approaches general availability. If you are interested in participating, please fill out this short form. You will be notified if you are approved as a partner.

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