Google Battles Facebook with Friend Connect Now on Drupal, Joomla

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Open-source content management systems Drupal and Joomla have made Google Friend Connect available on their platforms, reports ReadWriteWeb. This gives users of Drupal and Joomla the ability to leverage the immediate social features of Google Friend Connect without having to do any extra coding. For Google, the availability on these two major platforms gives it a wider potential of publishers to use its service.

What Google Friend Connect does is offer social networking capabilities to website publishers looking to add such features without much heavy lifting. Depending on the needs and services of a site, the costs involved for adding social networking features are often budget-breaking. The overwhelming presence of social networking sites like Facebook have also made it nearly useless for a website publisher to add their own networking features. Integrating with platforms on the likes of Facebook is often considered a cheaper and more easily implemented strategy towards the inclusion of social features with their products.

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With Google Friend Connect emerging after the launch of Facebook Connect, it appeared as though Google were hoping to compete directly with Facebook for gaining participating website publishers to use their respective platforms. OpenID and the recent trend towards cooperative platforming amongst major players has introduced new concepts around the necessity of niche services to create their own destination sites. Allowing Facebook and Google users to connect with each other on sites that plug into their platforms makes things easier for everybody.

Nevertheless, Google Friend Connect’s current advantage over Facebook Connect is its existing integration with other Google Apps. In addition to adding support for other major social platforms, Google has also been layering in features to help publishers integrate their Friend Connect experience with other Apps such as Gmail. Publishers have newsletter email options, which could one day be more dynamically involved in a user’s actual Inbox. Other stats on user behavior and options for running AdSense ads further incentivizes the publisher’s use of Google Friend Connect for their sites.

These incentives, however, are primarily focused on site publishers. What Facebook has over Google is its existing social network. While there are millions of users on Google, they may not network directly with each other in the same way they would on Facebook. Google is treated as a series of services, while Facebook is used for social networking. The concepts applied to Google and Facebook’s respective platforms are extensions of their core schemas.

Google has been doing more on the outreach end to gain users, announcing support for Twitter and Facebook Connect on its Friend Connect platform last December. Google may, however, find a way to gain more market share in the long-run. Having planted services across multiple platforms and devices, Google is pulling together many of its applications in order to increase convenience for consumers. If Google can find a way to tie this in with its Friend Connect platform before Facebook and its investor Microsoft do, then Google could further increase the adoption rate for Friend Connect.

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