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Google is expected to join the social network data portability crowd with "Friend Connect" on Monday. TechCrunch speculates that Friend Connect will be a set of "APIs for Open Social participants to pull profile information from social networks into third party websites."
Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social -- and now they can be, easily. With Google Friend Connect (see [google.com...] 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.
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.
Site owners head over here to Google Friend Connect [google.com...]
At least this looks like a step in that direction and, if anyone was going to pull this off, it would be the likes of Google.
Social networks. On the fly. "Society" not owned, but created, by choosing the apps of social endeavor. Paid for by very targeted CPM ads visible in the UI of the app.
I think the system-vision I described was no more than a description of a yearning that is common to most of us. We really do yearn to reach out via the WWW to dialogue - on our own terms. We want to maintain a degree of privacy. We would like a degree of control over who enters our "engagement space", i.e., invitation controls. Our engagement needs vary by issue so social networking as apps assembled on-the-fly makes sense. Let me choose from a menu. Allow for verification (I talked about a 3rd party verification system, akin to an Identity-Equifax) that would escalate trust more rapidly if I "knew" (verified) that this IS "John Doe from Stanford '87 who majored in economics . . etc" . .
The WWW is a wonderful connector and exchange enabler. The problem of the WWW isn't that if fails to connect the world. Rather, it's that it fails to enable the world to connect, in part due to significant issues of trust and "being known or knowable" and in part due to efforts to "own society", i.e., own members.
I don't see the old online-social-forms going away overnight. They work within their limits and offer certain built in advantages. Those advantages may erode with time, though, as wise folks with deep pockets realize that it's better to offer the best socializing service than it is to own those wishing to socialize.
Don't own me. Enable me. I'll suffer you background ads, as the price of admission, if you don't overdo it and otherwise leave me - and enable me - to play with the world.
Everyone wins in a friend connected web
and how. But they leave out what Google gets from this. :-) Clearly, their goal is to get a bit of Google code on each and every page on the Web. Then they know where and when people surf, what they look at, who they are.
But the project is very exciting... The Web is slowly turning into a big bucket of shared data.
I will certainly join the fun later but first, I want to enjoy my last moment of anonymousity !
If google now supplies me with easy means to embed this, that's a great chance in the first place.
I took a brief look at the sample pages.
1) Awful loading-time in some cases. Have the site owners underestimated the traffic of being on such a page or is that playground on google's own servers and just badly programmed?
2) Two of the pages have only this small square "sign in" on them. That is ridiculous unless placed on such a sample-page. The other two dedicate a hell of a lot of monitor-real-estate to this program. Not sure whether I'd want that or how and where to place it on my website. This is catch22 on starting such a programm: If it is new, you need a lot of space to make clear what it's all about. Not many of us would want to, yet. Once it is established and everyone knows, a small icon might suffice, but how do you start?
I don't like the size of the pictures: A nick with more than 10 letters like mine wouldn't fit, but again minimizing the space demands such small pictures.
I think, a lot more experimentation and variation of the design of the templates to embed is necessary, before this project may leave the beta-testing.