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Google Friend Connect Gets Personal




google angel haloGoogle Friend Connect can help convert any site into a Google-supported social network. In addition to allowing members of your site to send each other private messages, now Google is bringing its personalization home to your site with Friend Connect.

The shared interests that draw people to your site can make it easier for you as a site owner to appeal to them—but not just through your website. Google Friend Connect adds new capabilities for webmasters to communicate with their users in personalized ways, specifically with:

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 is also adding AdSense units to Friend Connect if you’d like to display those on your site.

As always, for the visual learners among us, Google made a video:

Google has long been rolling out more and more personalization throughout its services. Two of the most recent changes have come in Google Reader, with social- and usage-history based suggestions, and Social Search, now available in labs.

And the roll out has been so slow that many of us have complacently followed along. Will there be a point at which we decide enough personalization, we need more privacy? Or is it too late to change our minds?