Keen readers of any of the SMM blogs will notice at the foot of the right sidebar a new feature. Each now has a Discussion ‘Wall’ provided by Google Friend Connect. This is Google’s attempt to get on to the Social Media plane. It has some serious catching up to do, given what Twitter and Facebook have achieved here.
Usually if a topic has developed a following, you will find some chit-chat on Twitter about it via a hashtag (#). The easiest way to check is via TweetChat. If you register there and check the FriendConnect room, you will find it is usually pretty quiet. If Google Friend Connect is to develop any traction, that is not a good sign.
Google is diligently working away on the Social Web and last week announced that you can Take your Google Contacts with you.
Too many of these sites access your list of friends by asking for your username and password so they can sign in as you and scrape your contact lists. The problem is that once a website has your password, it can access all sorts of data, not just your contacts. Portable Contacts to the rescue! Portable Contacts (affectionately known as "PoCo") is an open standard that aims to make it easier to access "who-you-know" information in a secure way — this means sites don’t have to employ the "password anti-pattern" of scraping websites.
That just did not seem to get anyone’s attention. Google announced originally that Google Friend Connect is now available early in December. Shortly after they announced that Google Friend Connect was integrating with Twitter.
This means that when you join a Google Friend Connect-ed site, you can choose to use your Twitter profile, discover people you follow on Twitter who are also members of the site, and quickly tweet that you have found a cool website.
No one seemed to get the message. More recently, Google has announced an Improved help forum for Google Friend Connect. It just did not seem to get the headlines.
Jordan McCollum of Marketing Pilgrim suggested that although Google Reader Now Hosts Conversations, Google is not building a social network.
Really. They’re not. They’re just adding features to every product ever made to enable you to communicate and otherwise share information among your peer group and store all your information in a centralized place. That’s soooo not a social network, so I don’t need anybody telling me about how Google Reader’s new comment feature shows that they’re a social network.
To an extent, that is confirmed in her mind by the way in which Google Friend Data Goes Portable. Clearly this does not in any way create a social network. All this does it to let you take all that shared information – including your list of contacts – and pass it among your peer group all over the web.
If Jordan McCollum is right, then these FriendConnect Discussion panels on the SMM blogs will never get used since they do not create social networks. It will be interesting to see what happens with them.