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Google Friend Connect gets a handy toolbar

Site owners get a new option, a "social bar" that lets users keep an eye on what others are doing.

Google has launched a new option for site owners using its Friend Connect service. Besides the usual friends and discussion widgets, sites can now have a "social bar" which can sit atop, or at the bottom of their page. This facilitates user log-ins, as well as letting you get a quick view at the latest activity including members who have signed in and comments they've left.

Google is pushing the new bar as an alternative to putting some of the other Friend Connect page elements on your site. For instance, having this installed without the other widgets can keep the side navigation clear while still allowing users to log-in using their Friend Connect credentials. It also lets them see who's recently been on the page, and what those users have been interacting with.

You can see it action on this test site. Below is a demo video of how to drop it into your blog: