Google Friend Connect, now more personalized

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | 7:30 AM

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(Cross-posted with the Official Google Blog)

On the subway, I bump elbows with a guy for 20 city blocks without exchanging a single word. Forty-five minutes later, I find the same guy at the local guitar shop, and we start to talk — turns out he plays a Gibson Les Paul just like I do. We may have been strangers on the train, but in the guitar shop, we discover our shared passion for guitars.

Often, the web can feel like that subway. There are probably people commuting to the places you regularly visit, but you don’t know who those people are, and your paths may never cross. With Google Friend Connect, we've been helping millions of website owners make their sites more like that guitar shop — a social place where visitors can get to know each other — and less like the anonymous subway ride.

With this in mind, we're thrilled to introduce a new set of Friend Connect features that let site owners help their visitors get to know each other and personalize their site's experience and content.

Break the ice
Visitors to your site can get to know each other better by sharing details about themselves that are relevant to the site they're on. As a site owner, you can help them do this by visiting the new "Interests" section of your Friend Connect account, where you can add site-relevant questions that people can answer when joining your website or via the poll gadget. For instance, if you have a music website, you might ask people to share their favorite bands, the last concert they attended, or where they discover new music. Or if you run a hiking site, you can ask them about a favorite hike or national park. The details people share are added to their Friend Connect public profiles for your site, which are seen by other site visitors. This way, your visitors can learn more about each other in the context of the interests that bring them to your website.

We've also added the ability for people to send private messages to each other. That way, when a user discovers someone who shares their interests, they can send a message to that person via their Friend Connect profile to start a dialogue.

And as with any data you collect on Friend Connect, you can use open export tools and APIs to integrate this information with any other systems you might use. The interests people share on your website are also made available in the new "Community data" section of your account in the form of easy-to-read charts.

Personalize your website experience
The ice-breaking isn't limited to your visitors; you'll learn more about them too. The interests people share make it possible for you to create a more personalized experience on your website in a number of ways:
  • Send custom newsletters: The new "Newsletter" section of your account lets you create, send and manage newsletters. And with the help of "Interests," you can either send out newsletters to all your subscribers, or send out custom newsletters to different segments of your subscribers, based on the interest responses they submit.
  • Personalized content gadget: This new Friend Connect gadget automatically presents a dynamic personalized set of links to your site's content that matches each visitor's specific interests. Is a visitor learning how to play swing music? Links to articles your site has published about playing swing are presented to him or her.
  • Google ads: For those of you who display ads on your website, your Friend Connect account now includes an "AdSense" section that lets you enable Google ad units that are matched both to your site's content and to the interests users publicly share on your website.
All these new features are easy to implement and require no coding whatsoever. Here's a quick tour of what Friend Connect now has to offer:


If you'd like to see the new features in action, check out some of our partners' sites, like sfstation.com, metrolyrics.com, and pachakam.com.

We're excited to see the web evolve into a place where visitors of all websites can get to know each other — to share and discuss the things they care about most. To get started with Friend Connect, visit www.google.com/friendconnect.

Update 11/15: Updated list of partners.

Posted by Mussie Shore, Product Manager, Google Friend Connect

59 comments:

my web power said...

You just saved me a ton of time. I was in the process of adding new features to my site and now this will allow me to keep using Friend Connect for my 30,000+ member base. Thank you for adding these features they were much needed.

A GOOG said...

1) Personalize your website experience.
= More Personal

2) Send custom newsletters
= More Friends

3) Personalized content gadget
= More Targeted

4) Google ads
= More Money

Google Friend Connect = Wow!

RevEn said...

Awesome! Thank you very much!

robert said...

This update makes friend connect sooooo much more powerful!

I really can't tell you how excited I am about all the possibilities.

I'd like to say a HUGE thank you to all the team working to make the WHOLE web more social!

Sérgio Estrella said...

Gadgets isn't totally translated. I'll wait to use these features for now.

And please update the Blogger comment system with Friend Connect!

hoi said...

Sounds all very nice. When will it be available for google sites??

Rakesh Waghela said...

Surprisingly I used it on the first day itself without knowing that these features were released just today ! If one want to checkout here is the link : http://www.Webiyo.com

♥ Newsletter
♥ Top 10 Users
♥ Follow Gadget !

willing to embed others , but only after checking the response :)

Thanks Google Social Team !

PanosJee said...

hey guys, i have not seen any sign up functionality like facebook connect so that i let users sign up for my app using Friend Connect
Am i correct or i am missing smth ? I could not find any lib (at least ruby) offering me that functionality

advcosmos said...

I used GoogleConnect-social Bar on my website but it distorted the page completely on IE6.0, whereas it worked on Google-Chrome and didnt even appear on Mozilla FireFox 3.0.. am just stuck what to do ?

vinod kumar said...

Good idea for earning from adsense . Thanks for sharing dear social web blog

Sowmya said...

Hi I like the new features that have been introduced. I am a site owner at http://www.gitaaonline.com and I have installed the Top 10 members widget. Is there a way to exclude my activity for specific widgets (like I do not want to be on the top 10 list every day and yet I will be because I visit my site so often). I do not want to choose the invisible option because then my activity cannot be seen at all!

Danathar said...

I agree with the google sites comment. I would LOVE to use this with my google sites page that my family uses but alas it's just too freaking hard.

darkyndy said...

Nice features added with Friend Connect. I found one bug, where should I submit it?

Jewelry Artisan: Harjot said...

I love google!!!! :)

chang said...

IT's a nice blog.... website development

Peter said...

I'm trying to install the gadet to my wordpress blog. Have seen the tutiorals. After creating the thmlcode and pasting it in to the textgadet on WP all i see is the HTML code.
On Ytbe there are 4 steps. I miss step 1 and 2 (don't use FTP?)
On Blogger the gadet works fine.
Any help on this?

HCJ admin said...

@Peter
Sounds like the "text gadget" just renders text?
For Friend Connect help use the Friend Connect Support Forum.

Note: If your "Wordpress blog" is not self hosted i.e. on wordpress.com you'll probably be out of luck as wordpress.com doesn't support javascript.

Alain-Christian said...

I hate when someone has the google FC bar at the bottom or any other trendy web appliance that goes at the bottom of the screen. If I'm searching for text on the page I always have to press down to scroll beyond the word being covered by the stupid FC bar.

kamal said...

adding FC to http://sharega.me made it a social gaming site... FC rocks

Webblogs said...

Social Networking Google Maps
http://www.emilcohen.com

musikji said...

nice widget....

shakir said...

hey it,s awesome....

but i didn,t get any new orkut invititaion i wanna use it ..if anyine have then send me from my e-mail address...

friend connect is an awesome ...?

sunny said...

hey m using this new orkut, its awsme dear really nice

SWATI said...

Bored with Orkut or Facebook and looking for some change, then I would suggest you to visit: www.desimartini.com , this site is totally awesome, it has a variety of cool games even.

designer saqr said...

جميل جدا والله يعطيكم العافية على التطوير المستمر

Tina said...

how do i move my friends connect community with me from blogger to wordpress???

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pedro ventura said...

Good Work!

but there are tons of codification errors :"Como voc�� "

I can´t publish the polls or send the newsletters with those codification errors!!!

By the way i am not available to see the widgets on firefox!!! what happends??

Vital said...

Google Friend Connect is getting better all the time, thank you and keep up the good work!

Too bad your blog is getting bombarded with spammers - any Googlers keeping on top of this?

Nicholas Zamora said...

Why can't we use it with Google sites? How was that not the first thing to integrate this?

Mukhtaruddin said...

Thanks for your service google.. I very like you time to time :D..best regard Launching BeBlog, Mbah Gendeng and Apa Sih Asyiknya Belajar SEO?

m said...

Do you know how to get wordpress avatars to display GFC avatars/OPEN ID avatars instead? It always shows a generic Wordpress avatar with GFC comments HELP.

JC said...

AWESOME work! This is just what Friend Connect needed to make some sense to implement. Now here's a though, Google being known for it's search engine... how about a members search function, and maybe an advanced (criteria according to site interests) search later?

Oh yes, and the social bar could do with a lot of work too, making it more compatible and customisable.

Yeah I know, ungrateful buggers when we're getting all of this for free. Thanks again, can't wait to see what's next!

Govindji Patel said...

Hello

I have followed the video and got the html code and pasted on test html file and I just get blank line its here

http://www.govpatel.com/friend_connect.html

Can you please help is there any other settings I need to take of in google account.

Govindji Patel

Naveen said...

There is one difficulty with POLL gadget. I cannot have a specific poll for a specific page. What I get is all polls clubbed together. Is there anyway that I can have a particular poll for a particular page and also remove that Next and Previous links.

That will be of great use.

Mohan said...

Nice to see so many personalization options being offered via friendconnect. However, I am still not able to find a good traffic being generated via these modules. Why so? do you have any metrics to share on this?

Modern Warfare 2 said...

There has recently been an issue with the latest version of firefox (3.5.5) where the blue bar shows up, but the content does not. I've contacted google (Seth especially) and they've given me a workaround. Paste this code after the < head > tag in your HTML by opening with a < script > tag [this comment box will not allow me to post it] and closing with a < /script> and it should then be visible to people using the three major browsers:


window.JSON = {
parse: function(st){
return st.evalJSON();
},
stringify: function(obj){
return Object.toJSON(obj);
}
};


Visit my website to see the full implementation:
http://www.modernwarfare2cc.com/friend-connect.html

Hope this helps!

Modern Warfare 2 said...

Govinda, your code works fine in Chrome and IE, but not in firefox.

Visit this topic and scroll down to about the 6th post for a solution:
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/friendconnect/thread?tid=7305b5ff61e1fde3&hl=en

Be sure to visit my full implementation of google friend connect:
http://www.modernwarfare2cc.com/friend-connect.html

BestEcn said...

Hope to use Friends Connect at Google sites.

Karla Fernandes said...

I have one doubt, we can change the rss url that appear in google reader? All blog's i follow i saw in the google reader, but my site have the FriendConnect and i don't see what happening there, we can change the Feed url to see my new posts in Google Reader too? how this work?

Peter said...

I'm placing my problem on many forums in order to get an solution.
GFC does not work properly.
I've iserted the code from Mordern warfare2. Still it does not work with F'fox. I only see the same messages that the site can not be found/the start url does not match.. In IE it say can not find url probaly you've typed it wrong..


It look awfull on my site
www.ayni-web.com
ps on my Blogger blog the gadet is shown correctly. http://aynihealth.blogspot.com/

Any help is still very welcome.

solnak said...

how do I subscribe to a persons blog to see if they answer any of my comments?

Fernanda França said...

I can't put the widget for Netsletter of GFC. It doens't appear! Why? Thanks, Fernanda.

Maurice said...

Glad to have come across this. Our network uses this across the board.

Bombchell said...

I love the google friend connect thats with blogger, especially since people can use twitter and other applications. it makes it much easierct for friends.

Howeverr one Problem: today I messaged someone & i hated the fact that it already had in a built in email address that i could not change, and its not the email affiliated with my blog, but the one i used to signup originally and cannot change

siva said...

any useful links for integrating the existing ligin with GFC.
awaiting for the response

thanks
Siva

Dr. Hiran Amarasekera said...

Google friend connect is working nicely on my site at http://www.studentlanka.com where users can comment to posts using gfc.
In my elgg powered site at http://www.studentlanka.com/community the users can login using friend connect.

Thanks for technical guys at google for developing great products.

sapri72s1 said...

pls try social web blog?

Fabienne said...

I use a google site to display my courses to my students and creating a student community through the GFC would be great. But it is still impossible to add GFC to a google site!!! Is there a soon coming solution? It seems so incoherent that google products don't match together... :-/

Susan Davis said...

I had GFC on my blog and it was working fine. Then one day it just was a blank box on my site? I have tried uninstalling like 5 times same thing. I am baffled?? Anyh suggerstions?

Kimberly of Moms Break said...

The articles says: "enable Google ad units" but how do you enable them on friends connect?

Madeline said...

hi! currently i have the "join this site" widget on my blog, but I have seen the same widget but with "follow" on other blogs which I think is more appropriate for blogs.

where do I find the code for the "follow" widget?

thank you...

i enjoyed reading your posting by the way

Mick said...

I was hoping I can get some HELP. My google friend connect stop showing on my blog, I updated my wordpress blog, beside from that I haven't made any changes. Can anyone give me a clue about how to get my friend connect back on?

Tracy said...

I love the Google Friend Connect concept, but I'm concerned about using the Newsletter element. I noticed when I place it on my website and people sign up for a subscription to my newsletter it doesn't look like I get access to their email address and details so that I can incorporate them into my Aweber email system. Also, I'd LIKE to move away from Aweber to using only FC, but I'm not seeing an option for importing existing subscribers into this system.

I checked the "Export to .csv file options and such, but it doesn't seem to include the email address field, etc.

Can anyone help me with both of these issues?

Thanks!

sachin said...

Gadgets isn't totally translated. I'll wait to use these features for now.

sachin said...

hi! currently i have the "join this site" widget on my blog, but I have seen the same widget but with "follow" on other blogs which I think is more appropriate for blogs.but i have nothing add on my blog so you can help me.

where do I find the code for the "follow" widget?

thank you...

i enjoyed reading your posting by the way

Amelia said...

I can no longer join other's blogs or follow with Google Friend Connect. Every time I try ot add a new blog to follow, it takes me back to the google button, I can't sign in. I've even tried changing my password but still, can't follow any new blogs. My blog, on the other hand, people can follow no problem. Any suggestions? I run Firefox on a newer Dell.

aristokra said...

why this gadget show blank on my blog??? any help?

Ifinder said...

Sir. Me new. Removed the gadget of frequent errors.. In confusion. Lost followers. What is the diff followers vs members? Gadget of follow vs join this site? Is it possible to have a 'error submitting' provision in dashboard. I am a fan of google and blogger. Any help pl? With regards.