We've been unusually busy this past month, but still wanted to share some cool things that we'd found and done in December with you in this month's issue.
One of the coolest things that I have found, and am using on my own site, is Google's Friend Connect. I think you'll find our information interesting and will get you thinking about how you too can use Friend Connect on your own site.
I've been waiting for my invitation to join Friend Connect since it was announced this past summer. Just recently I was sent information by Google and have jumped in to try this fun and easy to implement new application on my own website.
What is Friend Connect?
First, what is Friend Connect? Friend Connect is a new application designed by Google and offered free that allows you to create easy to implement social networking and social buzz on your website without advanced programming knowledge. Built using the backbone on Google's own servers, this application which uses as the base Google accounts, Yahoo accounts, and AOL instant messenger accounts, and Open ID web accounts, allows users to interact with your content and each other in fun and interesting new ways.
Why is Friend Connect Important?
By allowing users to become members, post comments, upload videos, and supply ratings, you are tapping into a greater base, enlarging your reach, and sharing information in a two way conversation instead of a one way conversation; you to your reader.
Using gadgets, created by Google, you can interact in the following ways:
- With a members gadget you can create a member's panel, showing
icons of users who have selected
to become "friends" of your
- With the comment gadget, users can
then post comments, ask questions,
and upload videos to your
Friend Connect site. It's
kind of like a mini-forum.
- With the rating gadget, users can rate with a star system your page or website and leave comments.
As Google is encouraging the open developer community to create and post new gadgets for Friend Connect, there are sure to be new and exciting additional ways in the near future that you will be able to move your previously "static" website into a Web 2.0 dynamic and interactive website. Watch the Google YouTube video about Friend Connect and see examples of the gadgets in use.
What Do I Think About Friend Connect?
I think that it is great! As I am not a programmer, I am always looking for cool ways to provide specialized and interactive content without having to "re-invent the wheel". What Friend Connect does is provide the heavy lifting for websites and webmasters and allows for very cool applications to be used widely on the Web that provide for a unique and interactive reader experience on your website.
How Hard is Friend Connect to Implement?
You must understand source code and how to upload files to your web server to be able to use Friend Connect. But that being said, you do not need to be a professional webmaster to integrate Friend Connect. If you are using FrontPage or Dreamweaver and know how to click view source, you can easily paste in the Google code to install Friend Connect in your web pages.
See Some Examples of Friend Connect in Action
Take a look at Friend Connect to see what you think. Here are some examples of Friend Connect in action on my own website and others.
- PC Instruction page for McCord Web Services using page rating gadget.
- Obama billboard donation site using member and comment gadgets.
- My First Earthquake band site using member and comment gadgets.
If you want to know more about Google's Friend Connect or even start adding the application to your website we encourage you to visit Google Friend Connect online.