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What Is Google Friend Connect?

written by: Meryl K Evans•edited by: Brian Nelson•updated: 8/5/2011

You can turn your website into a community so your visitors can communicate with each other. Google Friend Connect makes it possible for them to interact beyond leaving comments.

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    New social media applications and ones we haven't met keep showing up on the Internet especially when a friend sends us yet another invitation. But Google Friend Connect isn't just another social networking site that you need to sign up for and create a profile. Instead, it adds "community" to your own web site.

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    Just Add Community

    Whether you're the only person behind a web site or a team, Google Friend Connect lets you select a gaggle of social networking features to include on your web site with little effort. All you have to do is pick the features, copy the code and paste the code into your site. Friend Connect API is available to those who know their way around APIs. With Google Friend Connect, users can connect with the site and each other.

    A Google Friend Connect enabled site gives users a way to sign in without having to create a new account. Visitors can use their existing Google, Yahoo, AIM or OpenID login to sign in. Chances are good that most people will already have at least one of these IDs.

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    Google Friend Connect Features

    Many gadgets are available for integrating on your site. The Google Friend Connect gadget directory includes videos and sample sites for every gadget so you can see it in action. Here's a sampling of what you can do to give your site some social power.

    • Members: Allows site visitors to sign in, invite friends and make new friends.
    • Comments: Not only can visitors leave comments, but they can link to videos and have Google's translation feature convert comments to their preferred language.
    • Social bar: Tool bar with fast access to Google Friend Connect's features.
    • Polls: Add polls, see results and view pictures of who voted for each answer.
    • Ratings and reviews: Visitors can rate and review any content on your site. The ratings and review gadget displays the average rating for the associated item along with the users' names, comments and rating.

    More gadgets are coming down the pike. Google Social Web Blog uses Google Friend Connect (of course) and has posts about the different Friend Connect gadgets.

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    Google Friend Connect in Use

    You can see Google Friend Connect in action on Virgin Global Row and the Friend Connect Directory lists sites using Friend Connect. However, beware some of these are spam sites and don't have Google Friend Connect. Go to to check out the available gadgets that socialize your web site.