Why I Added Google Friend Connect
Some of you might have noticed that over the weekend I added a Google Friend Connect members widget on my blog. You may be wondering why and I expect to fully explain it.
I didn’t add it because the widget because it looks good or to just take up space. Instead, it was a calculated decision and one I would recommend you follow.
Google Social Search is Coming
The first reason for adding Google Friend Connect, is the simple idea that Google Social Search is coming. Taking the time now to position this blog as one connected with a number of fans should help increase the site’s relevancy in any type of social search.
The current iteration of social search, shows results from friends in social networks. If Google uses Friend Connect similarly to a social network, than by having people become fans of this site they’re more likely to see my articles in their search results pages.
Also, there’s been a lot of buzz about a recent patent Google developed called “Trust Rank” (different than Yahoo!’s). Bill Slawski has a great in-depth analysis of the Trust Rank patent.
The patent outlines how Google may use data about specific users to influence search results rank. It looks at annotations and labeling of the user, but seems like it could easily be expanded to include signals like size of community. If this is the case, I’d like to have a head start on building one, especially a community within Google’s own Friend Connect.
The Widgets Are Useful
Another reason why I added Google Friend Connect is that it includes two very useful widgets: Members, and Recommendations. Each widget is useful in that it helps build the community and the interactions on the site.
Members Widget: I really like this widget, although it’s difficult to get started with. The plugin allows other Google users to become a fan of your page. From there you’re able to add users as “friends”.
This widget has the potential to do a lot more. Once you have a community built, it will be interested to see what more functionality Google rolls out. If integrated with Google Calendars or even potentially Google Wave, this community widget could be become very powerful.
Don’t forget to fan this page, you can find my Google Friend Connect widget on the right sidebar.
Recommendation Widget: Most blogs use some kind of “most popular” widget to highlight what posts are most read based on a number of criteria. In addition to that, I like using the recommendation widget.
The reasoning behind this is that most recommended articles are not only popular but also elicit strong emotions from people. It doesn’t take much to get someone to read an article, but it requires something unique to convince users to actually “recommend it” or “share it”.
Social search is going to be a shift in the way we search for products online. I already use digg / reddit as a search engine, searching based on up-votes. Products are searched by number of reviews and ratings. It seems like the next step would be to search information based on reviews.
I hope you’ll take a moment to add yourself as a fan of this blog. You can find the FriendConnect widget on the sidebar to the right, just click “Join This Site”.
How are you preparing your site? Have you included the Google Friend Connect widget? Are you trying something different? Don’t forget to become a Facebook Fan and Friend Connect Fan!