The Facebook/Google war over your blog's friends

I haven’t added either Facebook Connect or Google Friend Connect yet, but they sure are taking over tons of blogs very quickly. TechCrunch and Gawker both turned on Facebook. So, I asked my readers on FriendFeed for whether they have turned on either and tons of results came in (good resource so you can see how everyday bloggers are using these technologies).

My blog here is hosted on WordPress.com, which makes it difficult to use widgets like these. I want to go back to Matt Mullenweg and ask him which ones he’s going to support (he founded Automattic, which makes and hosts WordPress here).

Anyway, which ones are you using? What have you learned, if you’ve already used them? Have they improved the time spent on your blog? Do your users like having these widgets? Why have some blogs seen more than 2,000 people use them, while other blogs only have a handful of users? (It doesn’t seem to be totally based on popularity of the blog, but might have to do with where they are placed on the page, and how they are talked about on the content of the blog too).

Other questions I have:

1. Is this a winner-take-all game? Will people feel pressured to add both widgets? Will, at some point, they remove one? (I think it is, long term, if they stay similar. I hate clutter on my blog, and if one gets slow, it’d be tossed in a micro-second, and I’m already noticing that the same friends are on both anyway — so why not just get rid of one?).

2. Will there be advertising that appears? Spam? Bad behavior (I saw one obscene icon already). Of course advertising will appear on these widgets eventually. They might say no today, but three years from now? Right. And, even if they don’t put ads on the widgets themselves, they certainly will have an ad sales force that can tell you EVERYTHING about the blogs based on who has visited them.

3. Why is the UI so rudimentary? These are like mini rolodexes and already users are asking for search, list views, and other features because soon the more popular blogs will have 10s of thousands of users in these systems (maybe millions for sites like Huffington Post or TechCrunch) and they are already useless with 2,000 users so soon people will just stop using them unless they evolve quickly.

Anyway, tons of blogs are talking about Google’s addition of Twitter into feeds that integrate into its system. Here’s the best blogs I found on the topic:

TechCrunch: What the Twitter/ Google Announcement Means.
ReadWriteWeb: Google Brings Twitter to Friend Connect.
Social Times: The Social Advertising Race has Begun.

One thing I’ve noticed is that Google is getting picked up a lot more because of the Twitter announcement.

Comments

  1. What’s the point? It’s one thing to have a universal registration system, but to add one in? That’s just silly.

    I’m still holding out for OpenID. I hate the idea that Facebook or Google could tomorrow decide to charge $29.95 a month to keep your profile. Just the potential for that is ridiculous. For those who say it could never happen, just think back to when .mac was free for all Mac users. Then it became subscription based, and fell into disrepair for years.

    Gravatar is the one I hate the least, since it’s so benign you can add/remove it without feeling a thing. Still don’t like hitting a third party for images, but it’s the least offensive of them all.

  2. What’s the point? It’s one thing to have a universal registration system, but to add one in? That’s just silly.

    I’m still holding out for OpenID. I hate the idea that Facebook or Google could tomorrow decide to charge $29.95 a month to keep your profile. Just the potential for that is ridiculous. For those who say it could never happen, just think back to when .mac was free for all Mac users. Then it became subscription based, and fell into disrepair for years.

    Gravatar is the one I hate the least, since it’s so benign you can add/remove it without feeling a thing. Still don’t like hitting a third party for images, but it’s the least offensive of them all.

  3. I am using GFC – its a barrier to entry problem. Getting the Google widget code onto my WP (self hosted) site is easy. Getting FBC onto my blog and letting people join is tough. FB may be going after the enterprise brands that can implement this – but for the little guys its Google.

    This is how MyBlogLog got so many people on their system. Its worth looking at for a comparison of growth and usage. I think this real estate is becoming more important as the social network leaves the URI and enters your attention stream. I think the future social net is your inbox (specifically gmail as I recently wrote about on my own blog) but could end up being the network that simply follows you around.

    Its there when you need it and not when you don’t.

  4. I am using GFC – its a barrier to entry problem. Getting the Google widget code onto my WP (self hosted) site is easy. Getting FBC onto my blog and letting people join is tough. FB may be going after the enterprise brands that can implement this – but for the little guys its Google.

    This is how MyBlogLog got so many people on their system. Its worth looking at for a comparison of growth and usage. I think this real estate is becoming more important as the social network leaves the URI and enters your attention stream. I think the future social net is your inbox (specifically gmail as I recently wrote about on my own blog) but could end up being the network that simply follows you around.

    Its there when you need it and not when you don’t.

  5. I think the reason for the increased Google Friend Connect uptake is the ease of integration. Facebook Connect requires more back-end coding to integrate. For a WordPress blog, GFC requires nothing more than a copied piece of code into an embedded widget. I think Facebook is integrating Twitter now however. Might be worth the fiddling.

  6. Hi Robert,

    I have a WordPress blog as well and I am currently experiencing with a Facebook Connect plugin for WordPress provided by http://www.sociable.es/

    I also tested Google Friend Connect but I removed it after 6 hours. Most of my contacts have a Facebook account and almost none have a Google profile.
    But most importantly, I think that Facebook offers the potential of a viral expansion loop which is not the case of Google.

  7. I think the reason for the increased Google Friend Connect uptake is the ease of integration. Facebook Connect requires more back-end coding to integrate. For a WordPress blog, GFC requires nothing more than a copied piece of code into an embedded widget. I think Facebook is integrating Twitter now however. Might be worth the fiddling.

  8. Hi Robert,

    I have a WordPress blog as well and I am currently experiencing with a Facebook Connect plugin for WordPress provided by http://www.sociable.es/

    I also tested Google Friend Connect but I removed it after 6 hours. Most of my contacts have a Facebook account and almost none have a Google profile.
    But most importantly, I think that Facebook offers the potential of a viral expansion loop which is not the case of Google.

  9. I’ve set up Google Friend Connect on my blog http://www.expand2web.com/blog. It is easy to set up on a WordPress self-hosted blog. A lot of people are joining my site but the interaction is limited so far.

    I like the fact that I can add a Facebook-like “Wall” to my site, and I’ve met some new people talking about things there. Kind of like a “side conversation” on the site, outside of the regular blog comments.

    The Twitter integration is promising. I just linked that up in my GFC profile. I look forward to seeing if people will use this to invite their Twitter followers to GFC enabled sites.

  10. I’ve set up Google Friend Connect on my blog http://www.expand2web.com/blog. It is easy to set up on a WordPress self-hosted blog. A lot of people are joining my site but the interaction is limited so far.

    I like the fact that I can add a Facebook-like “Wall” to my site, and I’ve met some new people talking about things there. Kind of like a “side conversation” on the site, outside of the regular blog comments.

    The Twitter integration is promising. I just linked that up in my GFC profile. I look forward to seeing if people will use this to invite their Twitter followers to GFC enabled sites.

  11. I would love to add Facebook Connect to my blog (hosted by blogger), but there doesn’t seem to be a widget yet and I don’t understand how to do it myself.

    I added Google Friend Connect, which was very easy and looks great, but took it down after a couple days as the only people using it were spammers with dodgy photos.

  12. I would love to add Facebook Connect to my blog (hosted by blogger), but there doesn’t seem to be a widget yet and I don’t understand how to do it myself.

    I added Google Friend Connect, which was very easy and looks great, but took it down after a couple days as the only people using it were spammers with dodgy photos.