Friend Connect gets a warm reception at Google Campfire One

Google shows developers a demo of Friend Connect at its Campfire One event. Next up: navigating the choppy social networking interoperability waters.

Google engineering director David Glazer, right, talks to Matt Waddell at the Campfire One event at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Behind him is the skull of a T. Rex skeleton.
Google engineering director David Glazer, right, talks to Matt Waddell at the Campfire One event at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Behind him is the skull of a T. Rex skeleton. Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Maybe it was because Google preaching to the social-networking choir, or maybe it was the toasty campfires and hot cocoa, but demonstrations of Google's new Friend Connect service seemed generally well received Monday night.

Google executives showed off the technology, a Google-hosted application that designed to let Web site coders easily add social features to their sites, at the company's third Campfire One event at the company's headquarters here. Previous debuts at the events were of two other significant developer-oriented software technologies, OpenSocial and App Engine.

Program manager Mussie Shore gave the central demonstration sprucing up a guacamole-lovers' site with the ability to let users join as members, comment, post photos, rate recipes, and spread word of those activities to contacts on existing social-networking sites LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, or hi5.

Ingrid Michaelson webmaster Jenny Begin and Nat Brown, CTO of iLike, show Friend Connect enhancements they made to the Ingrid Michaelson Web page.
Ingrid Michaelson webmaster Jenny Begin and Nat Brown, CTO of iLike, show Friend Connect enhancements they made to the Ingrid Michaelson Web page. Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks

Google Friend Connect employs several more-or-less standard networking technologies--OpenSocial as a foundation for richer Web applications; OpenID to handle login chores; OAuth to let users approve the grafting of new branches onto their existing social networks such as Facebook. It's yet another option in the complicated and fast-changing set of alliances and standards efforts in the social-networking domain.

Attendees I spoke to generally waxed positive about it. And Don MacAskill, Chief Executive of photo-sharing site SmugMug, said he'd be interested in trying it out.

In his demo, Shore picked some social applications from an online catalog, tweaked minor parameters such as background color, clicked a button to generate a few lines of JavaScript, copied it into his Web page, and exercised the new features on the revamped Web site.

Program manager Mussie Shore demonstrates Friend Connect. Key to the process is the 'generate code' button that produces some JavaScript that can be copied into a Web site.
Program manager Mussie Shore demonstrates Friend Connect. Key to the process is the 'generate code' button that produces some JavaScript that can be copied into a Web site. Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks

Shore touts the benefits of Friend Connect.
Shore touts the benefits of Friend Connect. Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks

The crowd settles in at Google's third Campfire One event in the Googleplex courtyard.
The crowd settles in at Google's third Campfire One event in the Googleplex courtyard. Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks

The Googleplex by night. Yes, the roof is crooked.
The Googleplex by night. Yes, the roof is crooked. Stephen Shankland/CNET Networks

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