The web is amazing. Every once in a while a new service appears that brings together so many people and gets so much popularity that everyone starts to look at it as the solution to everything.
Twitter is one good example of such beast. Started as a microblogging tool, made popular by high profile bloggers like Robert Scooble, seen as the hidden treasure of branding and marketing, twitter currently has about 5 mil users and growing rapidly. ( you know it's growing when you see spam growing )
One of the greatest things about twitter ( from a developer's point of view ) is that it allows developers access to it's data through a simple API. This allowed a lot of companies and individual developers to write a large variety of web based services and applications from simple clients to power monitoring , pregnancy monitoring and alarm monitoring applications .
All these new apps being created everyday make people think what more can we do with twitter ? How can we make it solve all of our problems? ( can it bail out the banks ? ) .
A few weeks ago this post on Marketing Pilgrim blog suggests twitter could become a payment gateway, three days ago someone wrote a post suggesting twitter search could be a threat to google , I still see tweets about that post.
I see the value in each of those apps, in some there is more in others less, I can see how twitter search can be very useful for certain things, but it could never replace a search engine in the way google, yahoo, live work.
I'm not saying people shouldn't look for innovative ways to use a service, but headlines like "twitter threatens google" seem more like link bait.
I actually think something like friendfeed.com would be more efficient as a search engine then twitter is but would still not match google's power.
Sure people based search is cool but what about most of the people who don't live in twitter, what about the forums, the mailing lists, the blog comments, the pdfs, .doc?
Lately I have become more involved into social media/networking. I'm far from a social media expert, and I think too many people declare themselves social media gurus. If everybody's a guru no one's a guru anymore .
Anyway as part of my social networking involvement I try to experiment with new things as time permits. One of these things is Google Friend Connect.
What is Google Friend Connect?
In a few words it's a service that allows a site's visitors to connect with their friends that might also use the same site.
Google provides a few gadgets, one for showing members, another one for allowing members to post on your site's wall, a Review/Rate gadget and some others supporting the OpenSocial platform but developers can build their own gadgets too.
It allows you to see who else is using the same site as you are and what other sites are your friends using. You can connect with your friends on twitter, plaxo, google ( gmail) and orkut but other networks may be available in the future. So if you're visiting my blog and using one of those services you might want to become a member of this site and see what you're friends are doing.
How to implement on your blog?
If you want to implement Google Friend Connect on your blog, the process is pretty simple just go to http://www.google.com/friendconnect/ , click the "Setup a new site" button and follow the simple instructions.
It will ask you to provide the site name and home page url and then will provide 2 html files for download that you have to upload to your site.
Then pick one of more gadgets, customize them to match the look of your site and google will generate some html code that you can copy and put where ever you want on your site.
You can see the google friend connect members gadget on the right sidebar after the "Recent comments" widget. Just click the "Join" button.
Other places where we can connect: