Google have released a new free service called Friend Connect which allows you to embed social networking tools into existing webpages. The service includes a login feature which as well as recognising Google logins, is also OpenID compliant meaning the service can be used by non-Google account holders without having to create a new profile. Gadgets already available include a noticeboard, commonly referred to in social networking sites as a ‘wall’, and a review/rate gadget. Google are hoping the gadgets won’t stop there. Friend Connect is compatible with their OpenSocial standard so they will be looking towards the crowd to create new gadgets. The key strength of Friend Connect is that it integrates into existing webpages, so interactions happen on your website without the user having to be directed to another location.
Setting up Friend Connect is relatively straight forward. To start connecting you need to register with the service here. This process generates two files which you need to upload to your web server. To start using the gadgets you need to enter some generated code into your website to allow members to login. You can then choose the social features you want to include, again pasting the automatically generated code into the appropriate place.
This video from Google explains all: