Google’s Friend Connect 2009 – a Widget or a Service?

    by Paul Shuteyev
    Google Friend Connect

    Google Friend Connect

    Google’s Friend Connect generated a lot of buzz in the market as soon as it was launched as private beta (do not doubt Google’s brand value). Very few people could actually play with it in the initial days. However, now, it is available for installation on your website or blog. But, what does it really have for a novice blogger who can barely put his thoughts in a WYSIWYG editor (undoubtedly the majority)! Simply nothing. Why Google’s Friend Connect (FC) has nothing to offer me in its present state? ... 1. At present, Google’s FC is nothing but a widget to showcase some faces (visitors or your friends). 2. There is an option (wall) where people can write their comments on anything. Does it sound like a forum platform? But, tell me one thing, why should your visitor write in the wall instead of using the comment form under the post or the contact form for a private conversation? 3. What does it really have for the visitors? Does it really solve any problem for the end users? Why should I shout out that I am a fan of your website unless I have some interest? Ok, I know; I can showcase some links in my profile. To add to this, there are lots of big websites and blogs with more than 5,000 fans in their FC. If you take a closer look, people are actually trying to test FC in those blogs. Apart from that, if they really write some worthy comments and develop a good profile page, they may also get some visitors from those big blogs or websites. In this situation too, why should the webmaster bother about FC! They can easily install a forum. 4. Think about the situation where I have more than 5,000 friends or fans but I cannot instantly ping them about something. So, what is the worth having so many friends in FC? If I could make 500 friends to follow me on Twitter, the return on investment would have been much higher. Do platforms like BlogCatalog or MyBlogLog or Ning have anything to worry about? No. At present they have nothing to worry about. These websites cater to a specific niche - bloggers. And if you are thinking in these terms, the return from those websites is much higher than FC. Bloggers register there to develop a network - they are ready to communicate for the same reason. On the contrary, FC is open to all. (More people do not mean more business.) However, as a part of the OpenSocial platform, FC is going to develop very soon. It is sure to have more ready to use gadgets for the webmasters. But the big question is - will it be able to stay focused? And what else may we expect in Google Profiles?
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    Paul Shuteyev
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