Google Friend Connect Adds Twitter

Hard to believe, but not everyone seems excited about Google Friend Connect or Facebook Connect or MySpaceID for that matter.

Must be the time of year.

Anyway, I remain excited about GFC because if nothing else, it adds social to any web site, which is something I think appeals to the vast majority of users. I’d love to hack up something similar (or use the original with modifications) inside the firewall with Connect as the social hub.

Google Friend Connect Twitter Integration

One thing lacking from GFC so far has been social integration outside each individual site; sure, not completely lacking, but it’s sparse at best. You can “connect” with people from orkut and Plaxo and show your activity from GFC sites on those sites. As far as I can tell, connect in this case means you can invite them to join you on any of the GFC sites you’ve joined.

As an aside, Sean correctly pointed out that I skipped over mentioning orkut in my first post on GFC. This was intentional because I have such a tiny network on orkut, but it is worth mentioning since orkut is the most popular network in Brazil and India, making it pretty large.

Still, I only have a handful of orkut connections, and I’m not very active there.

Today, GFC unveiled Twitter integration, which makes a world of difference to me.

Google Friend Connect SettingsNow, if you add your Twitter credentials to Friend Connect (via the “Settings” link), you get some Twitter goodness. Such as:

  • Share your Twitter profile, instead of your Google, orkut or Plaxo one.
  • Share your activity to Twitter, via the Share tab.
  • Automagically connect with any friends who overlap with GFC and Twitter.

So, not that much really, but it’s a start. The post from Twitter says a lot, i.e. “Google is integrating Twitter with Google Friend Connect”; this seems a bit like covering bases, and Twitter says as much via Evan Williams. So, expect to see Facebook Connect+Twitter soon. Twitter will become an interesting feature-functionality testing ground for each Connect service.

Twitter was supposed to be part of MySpaceID (Data Availability), but that hasn’t materialized yet. There’s not much difference really, since OpenSocial and OpenID form the underpinnings of both.

Functionally, I’m not overwhelmed by what I can do with Twitter+GFC. Probably the most useful feature is the additional of overlapping friends to your GFC network.

Before, I had to invite people to join each network, e.g. our little network for this blog. By adding my Twitter credentials, GFC scans the members of our network and my Twitter friends for matches. Anyone it finds that I’m not already friends with here is added automagically, e.g. by adding Twitter, I’m now friends with Ethan Jewett, who joined the ApspLab network today (welcome).

Otherwise, sharing what I’m reading with Twitter is nice, but the implementation seems roundabout, i.e. I have to click Invite first, then the Share tab. I don’t find much value in using my Twitter profile over my Google (or Plaxo, orkut) profile.

Roundabout Share to Twitter

What you’re sharing actually links to the page/post from where you clicked “Invite”, which is pretty useful, similar to the browser add-ons for Twitter. Still, it still feels a bit convoluted; the UI could be a lot more direct. I’m guessing a “Share to Twitter” widget surfaced directly will be built very soon.

Share to Twitter

The one thing teased here is the ability to login to GFC with your Twitter credentials. This capability was mentioned as part of the integration, but quickly corrected. What will happen here as Twitter integrates Facebook Connect? I wonder if they will also support adding OpenID in order to straddle the Google vs. Facebook fence.

Bradd's SitesAnyway, GFC sites are popping up here and there. I found the first clever use of GFC to form a network around a cause today over at Billboard for the People; there’s potential in using GFC to do grassroots/viral marketing. One way I’ve found a couple interesting sites is by looking at people’s profiles on GFC, e.g. Bradd’s profile led me to Beer News.

I know it’s early yet (and you’re probably busy with holiday stuff), but what do you think of GFC so far? Does the Twitter integration make any difference? What about Facebook Connect (and in general)?

Sound off in the comments.




  1. Twitter is a good addition. I am not so sure about Plaxo. Does anyone really use that much? What does it have that isn't somewhere else? Good note in here about decreased ad spending on all of the social networks.

  2. Yeah, Plaxo was there from the beginning. I'm even less likely to use Plaxo than orkut, especially after its acquisition. I was really surprised MySpace and Google didn't collaborate on this, since the underlying technologies seem to be the same; I wonder what the backstory is.

    Does decreased ad spending surprise you? Ad spending is down across the board, and even without the bleak economic outlook, Beacon showed how touchy a subject that is. I only skimmed the post; did I miss the meat of it?

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