Google Friend Connect

I’m not jumping on the bandwagon yet; however, I think Google Friend Connect shows good innovation. In many ways it is a reaction to Facebook Connect, but Google, I think, aims at an audience with less technical knowledge. I think that this could be a great step forward. Instead of building a closed space to network, Google Friend Connect essentially lets any site opt in to the network and form a new node. The tools seem more straight forward than Facebook’s and allow even the average blogger to leverage the service.

I once spoke about the idea of collaborative reading of a site — i.e. when you visited a site you might be able to see comments, highlights, marginalia, your friends left on the site. Diigo does something similar right now as a browser plugin, but lacks the ability to tie into a ready list of “friends.” I still need to play with Friend Connect more, but if it could allow me to filter content and see just comments by my friends, I think that would be a great step. Further enhancements to allow highlight- and marginalia-sharing among friends would be awesome additions.

Of course, one last way this service would be greatly enhanced is if I could keep all of my Facebook friends. While Xoopit does not focus on Friend Connect, it does bring together Facebook and Gmail in a great new concept. Further (optional) integration with Facebook would be, in my opinion, a win for Gmail and Friend Connect. I do understand wanting to keep one’s competitor at bay; however, as old affirm goes: “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

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