Click 無 to leave the digital space.
Users of Google Friend Connect can set up social networking sites and add gadgets to their own pages (see e.g. my Google Friend Connect Test page). The drawbackl is that the profiles of your “Google Friends” are stored on the Google servers. As a result Google knows the social network of a user, even if they don’t control the content posted on her site.
Compared to Facebook Google Friend Connect may have some advantages:
- Google is not responsible for the copyright of content posted by users (instead of Google site owners will receive takedown notices for illegal content)
- Google Friend Connect is independent from the service that provides a user’s identifier (accepts users from Yahoo, Facebook, OpenID,….)
- Social networking functionality can be easily integrated on existing websites
What counts for google is the knowledge about a user’s connections. Since Google Friend Connect monitors the user identifiers, google can assign a community to a known user. In the digital space communities dominate brands. Google’s business model is based on selling knowledge about social networks to advertisers of branded products.
Google Friend Connect may be the logical progression of social media. However, I predict that it’s just an intermediate step. Soon there will be an open standard for user profiles. Once users are able to manage the connections on their own devices their social networks will become more private again.