Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | 10:15 AM
This guest post was written by Alex Epshteyn who is the founder of typeracer.com, a popular browser-based real-time typing tournament. He started developing for the OpenSocial platform over a year ago with the TypeRacer application for orkut and MySpace. Alex has been successfully leveraging Google developer tools such as Google Web Toolkit and App Engine to create compelling social applications such as TypeRacer and this Polls Gagdet. Alex holds a Master's degree in Computer Science from UMass Amherst and was an intern at Google in 2005. - Ed.
You've seen them on thousands of websites – opinion polls which ask you a question of interest and then show you the number of people who voted on each answer choice. If you're a webmaster, polls are a fun and easy way for your visitors to express themselves and a great tool for you to see what your users like.
Traditionally, all these votes have been condensed into a set of numbers and percentage bars, but the new Polls Gadget for Google Friend Connect is giving opinion polls a human face (literally). The Polls Gadget makes it easy to publish opinion polls on your friend connected website and adds a social element by displaying the faces of the community members and friends who voted on each answer.
Google Friend Connect makes poll results more accurate because votes are tied to each user's account, more interesting because you can see who voted on each answer, and, best of all, you can discover like minded members who have similar tastes! For instance, I just discovered that a member, Mussie, and I have the same favorite track on the new U2 album.
You can try the Polls Gadget for yourself and add it to your friend connected website free of charge. You will have full control over publishing polls on your site. In the future, we're planning to also give you the option of syndicating your polls across the web, letting other web masters host them on their site
The Polls Gadget was built using Google Web Toolkit for extra interface richness, Google App Engine for extra scalability, and OpenSocial, well, for all that social stuff.