Posted May 12, 2008 12:54 pm by with 13 comments

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First MySpace announced data portability, then Facebook announced Connect, and now Google has Friend Connect. Each is making it easier to share profile information from one social networking site to other web sites (and hoping to be place you go to do that). Google’s Friend Connect was announced today.

To add social networking features to any web site, you can get code from Google (although, unfortunately, the site does not work until tonight) and pick which features you want to add. The code will allow people register on your site, invite other people, import friends lists, see who else is on the site, and post messages and reviews.

According to their press release: “Visitors to any site using Google Friend Connect will be able to see, invite, and interact with new friends, or, using secure authorization APIs, with existing friends from social sites on the web, including Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more.”

So, Marketing Pilgrim could add some features without hiring a programmer. While it won’t be a full-blown social network, you could see other Marketing Pilgrim readers and interact with them with one login. That’s the idea.

Friend Connect will work with existing standards such as OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial, as well as with data access APIs from Facebook, Google, and MySpace. The sites are trying to compete in becoming the repository of information from which other sites draw from.

According to TechCrunch, Google sees Friend Connect as a small step towards Google’s larger goal of letting people connect to any friend on any application, on any site.

Google Friend Connect is in a preview release and will start with a group of sites that Google has picked.