Is Friend Connect Google's Answer To MyBlogLog?

Longtime readers know how much value this blog has gotten out of mybloglog (now owned by Yahoo!).

I’ve had the mybloglog faceroll widget on this blog for several years and there are 2,613 members in the AVC community on mybloglog. You can see the faceroll widget on the left siedbar just a little bit below the fold.

Today, Google has announced a service called Friend Connect. I spent a bit of time looking at Friend Connect this morning and this screen shot was the one I found most interesting.


I’ll have to play around with Friend Connect and understand how it fits between mybloglog and ning and other things that it reminds me of. At first blush, I am not entirely sure what I’d use it for. Suggestions?

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Philippe Bradley

    Here’s a thought, given this weekend’s Disqus theme: what if Google rolled out a blog comments widget? It could crush Disqus.but ikewise, it could just buy Dqs and merge it with google account profiles. Swings and roundabouts.

    1. fredwilson

      Given the blog comment service that is running on blogger right now, they apparently don’t think blog commenting is a big deal yetfred

  2. ppearlman

    i view this within the context of a goog socialization strategy that they have not made explicit but is likely much more developed than watchers realize… and, as they turn their cards over 1 by 1, will have great hand there… will ‘suddenly’ be such a beast in the space…

  3. qwang

    It’s could be possible for all 3 social data portability efforts to enable this. What’s happening is that social content/graph is being positioned as a piece of infrastructure on which other apps/communities can build on top of.

  4. stone

    looks to me that they have a team focused on social stuff. this is idea #1 of many to come. I think web 3.0 is going to be about semantic mapping of content, along with forms of triangulation you spoke of recently. Not sure precisely how this fits in.

    1. vruz

      I think the semantic web is overrated and I disagree about the definition of the so-called “web 3.0”.(And so does Eric Schmidt)Semantics and context are about data. Web 3.0 is NOT ONLY about data, but also about loosely coupled applications working together, enabling for much more powerful mashups that look, feel and work as richly as a desktop GUI can.Data is not useful without applications. A friends contacts application is not useful if you can’t connect it to other stuff.I blogged about this back in october:…The Google perspective still is that web applications will continue to be based on some transitional patch-technology like AJAX.But that’s basically because it’s a lot harder for them to develop, support and evangelise yet another platform.That’s not their best trick, they’re really struggling to get it right with Android.The web platform was already there for grabs when Google appeared, they didn’t develop the platform, and it hasn’t changed an awful lot in the last 5 years or so. (HTTP, HTML, XML, Javascript, web browsers.. all have improved gradually, but there hasn’t been any radical change yet, HTML 5 *may* change that)Now I think Mozilla, Adobe and Sun are closer to delivering a new next generation web platform.Disqus 3.0 would be one of many interconnectable applications on the post-IFRAME web.Sun has just announced an OSGi-based product at JavaOne last week.Here’s a Sun presentation of a mashed-up application taking data from an IM service and publishing it on the web, all wrapped up and glued together with JRuby. (an implementation of the Ruby programming language that runs on the Java VM)…This is just one of the currently available “web 3.0” systems. Which will prevail is hard to say, and of course Sun, IBM and others will push for a Java-like environment.See how Disqus could become even more integrable with just about any other application out there ?Want comments on a Customer profile in your CRM app ? No problem !Want comments linked to geolocation on a Google map ? No problem !Adobe AIR can do a lot of this stuff already. Microsoft is taking babysteps with Silverlight, which is just a toy for Windows right now. (but they may be forced to deliver something decent if the China Olypmics website is built on Silverlight, expect crashes !!)Mozilla is blaming Adobe and Microsoft because they don’t follow standards, Mozilla promise they will implement *something* based on HTML 5, but it’s not clear how or when.Adobe replies with the Adobe Open Screen platform, opening some Flash internals. (they had already open sourced the Flex compiler back in november)Sun is a lot about superenterprisey Galactica-like infrastructure that will take you to the next universe and beyond. (but has a track record of miserably failing when it comes to user interfaces and direct-to-consumer products)Watching in the sidelines is Apple, who right now have the power (and money) to be a major player, if they want to. They continue to back Webkit, (the engine that makes Safari work) Webkit is getting better all the time, it makes Safari run on the iPhone too. Adobe AIR relies on Webkit too for HTML-based apps.Right now Disqus has to continue relying on the old dreaded IFRAME that makes developers cringe.But it works.And developers will choose stuff that works to get the job done.My conclusion is more or less the same as it was back in october: We yet don’t know how it will look like, but for sure it will be awesome :-)(this ended up being a long reply, reposting on my tumblelog for future reference)…

  5. lawrence coburn

    Fred, I see the MyBlogLog comparisons, but I think that Friend Connect is more than that. I think it’s a distributed Ning – in fact, I expect to see Google go right down the list of features that Ning offers for its destination social networks, and attempt to provide them on a distributed basis. To use Ning, you have to give up whatever online presence you were using before and start afresh. With Friend Connect, it’s a more incremental approach… drop in the tools you need, as you need them, into your existing site.

  6. pierreloic

    Friends Connect seems to be Google’s response to Facebook and MySpace’s announcements from last week that they were each releasing their own social data portability project. I guess Google felt compelled to make this announcement sooner than they would have otherwise to try to tamper any traction MySpace and Facebook may get. I’m not sure how successful they will be considering they have no product to show for yet…See more about these announcements and what they mean in this post we published last week:

    1. vruz

      the problem is, you can’t actually take myspace nor facebook to your own site.portability is not the same as live is important. but so are applications. (i.e. what you do with data)

      1. qwang

        Touche on the distinction. Portability only manges to make people feel warm and fuzzy, but embedding (I’d rather call it interoperability) is what enables exciting new features.

  7. winningstartups

    Google is going to take over the world. I think it’s a great idea. Social groups are a definite hole for them. I will use Friend Connect for certain. hey, I found your site via mybloglog too!

  8. Vlad B

    This is obviously another step towards fixing the “disconnected web”. But it’s also interesting in the context of advertising and demographics – and I don’t mean the evil kind. Google could improve its adsense targeting by figuring out related content categories based on demographic averages (and only when the sample size is big enough not to worry anyone with regards to privacy).

  9. reuben

    I really see benefits in google friend connect for the small time webmaster or people who just want to add social features to their site but perhaps just don’t have the knowledge or the $’s to buy a script.¬†Google friend connect is very easy to add to any site, that it requires very basic computer knowledge to setup, which I think is key to the success of the gadget implementation as more and more sites will enable them, which will spiral more viral communication streams between sites, which previously may not have been linked.A new google friend connect directory has been started at, if you have a google friend connect enabled website then you can submit your site for free to this directory.