Adding Google Friend Connect is an example of how hard it is to join the 2010 web

One of the first things I wanted to do this morning was to add Google’s Friend Connect widget to my blog. You can now see that component on the right side of my blog, right above a widget that adds Facebook Connect capabilities.

Now, I had some advantages. Kevin Marks taught me how to do that and showed me what it can do. He works at Google. It seemed simple enough to try myself, so I went off to the Google Friend Connect page and started filling out the form. It said I had to load two files up to my server. One problem, though, I didn’t know how to do that.

Now I can hear you yelling at the screen “you need to FTP them up to your server.”

One problem: most people today have no idea what you just said. I forgot all about FTP back in 1996 and didn’t think I’d need to know about it again.

WordPress’s dashboard makes it easy to upload files, but it doesn’t let you put those files into a specific directory on your server.

And I didn’t have access to my FTP server anyway. Now I do, thanks to Vid Luther, who is helping me with my site.

What if you didn’t have a “Vid?” You’d just give up.

See, this is how deep the disconnect between the geeks who make this stuff is and the normal people who are plumbers, teachers, bar owners, shop owners, etc.

Until we make it so damn simple to add stuff like this to our web sites and our blogs without needing to know about FTP or file uploads etc we won’t get main street onto the 2010 web. Or, at minimum, our tools need to communicate more about what we need to do to complete a required action. In this case it would have been nice for Google to say “you’ll probably need to get access to your server via FTP, go see your site administrator.”

I did talk with Kevin Marks too, and he had a great solution: to use a plugin. But Google’s page doesn’t offer that as a choice, so how is a normal user supposed to know about it?

Anyway, it’s working now. Please help me test it out by adding yourself to the component. As Google and Facebook add more features those components will be more important to all of us. Here’s a menu of things I’m looking to add now that I have this working.

Think people aren’t struggling with these issues? In just the past few hours I’ve received several questions about how I added the friendfeed component to my blog. See, it’s very easy to do copy and paste programming, but only if you know where to paste! :-)

Anyway, onward. I’d love to see your blog and what widgets you love and how you implemented them. Post them here!

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

196 thoughts on “Adding Google Friend Connect is an example of how hard it is to join the 2010 web

  1. I have tried to use Friend Connect on my website in the past, but found that very few were using it. When I then redesigned my webpage the decision was to take it off again. Using FTP is still very much present, I think the reason is that it is still the most reliable method of transferring large files

  2. Digg is now worthless to Kevin Rose. The last round of investment took any profit Rose can make out of his hands and it will now all go to the investors. $27M came in last month and that is the end of Digg being sold. For now.

  3. Digg is now worthless to Kevin Rose. The last round of investment took any profit Rose can make out of his hands and it will now all go to the investors. $27M came in last month and that is the end of Digg being sold. For now.

  4. I'm playing with this code now, and I should admit I'm a bit of a code monkey. So, this isn't rocket science. But, my question is “why should I?” Is this relevant to my readers? Will it be? My readers are growing tired of things to join so they can talk to me. They just want to spend a few minutes on my site, maybe read an article, perhaps sign up for a newsletter (yes, some people are still accessible via their email inbox, which is still the most reliable space to distribute information to one single person much of the time).

    I'm even considering integrating Disqus so I don't have to make ppl log in twice if they want to post, then look at site access settings (like those special places I only let members go).

  5. I'm playing with this code now, and I should admit I'm a bit of a code monkey. So, this isn't rocket science. But, my question is “why should I?” Is this relevant to my readers? Will it be? My readers are growing tired of things to join so they can talk to me. They just want to spend a few minutes on my site, maybe read an article, perhaps sign up for a newsletter (yes, some people are still accessible via their email inbox, which is still the most reliable space to distribute information to one single person much of the time).I'm even considering integrating Disqus so I don't have to make ppl log in twice if they want to post, then look at site access settings (like those special places I only let members go).

  6. The more people want == the dumber they get

    I think it says something sad about human nature, that people expect everything to be SO easy.

    For example I DO think that WordPress is a great tool, but its idiot proof simplicity and massive penetration does seem to have lowered the average IQ, or led to a general “intelligence ageing”.

  7. The more people want == the dumber they getI think it says something sad about human nature, that people expect everything to be SO easy.For example I DO think that WordPress is a great tool, but its idiot proof simplicity and massive penetration does seem to have lowered the average IQ, or led to a general “intelligence ageing”.

  8. Robert, yes, it seems its working. But its pretty useless and only takes spaces and makes your page load longer :) So good luck with this worthless gadget.

  9. Robert, yes, it seems its working. But its pretty useless and only takes spaces and makes your page load longer :) So good luck with this worthless gadget.

  10. Robert,

    Why add such a pointless thing to your blog? It's only going to slow it down and what is the real advantage of having it other than seeming more web 2.0 / web 3.0? All it does is take up screen space, it looks ugly and quite frankly it makes me angry.

    Your blog theme is too bland and the Google Friend Connect bar the bottom just makes it look even blander than it currently looks.

    May I suggest hiring a web development and design agency to make you a new blog design worthy enough for my eyes to lance upon?

    Sure the bar makes your site more engaging, but the content quality of your blog posts lately is so bad that it's not worth engaging in the first place, because your posts have no substance to them.

    I find it laughable that someone who has worked with major hardware and software development companies over the years, not to mention someone that boasts vast amounts of knowledge in social media could forget about FTP, let alone get away with not using it since 1996.

  11. Robert,Why add such a pointless thing to your blog? It's only going to slow it down and what is the real advantage of having it other than seeming more web 2.0 / web 3.0? All it does is take up screen space, it looks ugly and quite frankly it makes me angry.Your blog theme is too bland and the Google Friend Connect bar the bottom just makes it look even blander than it currently looks.May I suggest hiring a web development and design agency to make you a new blog design worthy enough for my eyes to lance upon?Sure the bar makes your site more engaging, but the content quality of your blog posts lately is so bad that it's not worth engaging in the first place, because your posts have no substance to them.I find it laughable that someone who has worked with major hardware and software development companies over the years, not to mention someone that boasts vast amounts of knowledge in social media could forget about FTP, let alone get away with not using it since 1996.

  12. your quote:
    “I forgot all about FTP back in 1996 and didn’t think I’d need to know about it again.”

    seems my comprehension is working fine, you forgot about it and didn't think you'd need know it again. If you didn't forget why did you have to get someone to help you? Or where you just being a drama queen, for the sake of getting attention?

    I don't think regular people do or should know how to FTP, but I mean you're the super awesome scoble blogging since the dawn of man, and now working for a hosting company, and not “regular people”. You can't be Mr Web 2.0 when it suits you and then be “regular people” when that works for you. Pick a side and stick to it don't waffle about everything you do/say choosing the side that gets you the most eyeballs.

  13. your quote:”I forgot all about FTP back in 1996 and didn’t think I’d need to know about it again.”seems my comprehension is working fine, you forgot about it and didn't think you'd need know it again. If you didn't forget why did you have to get someone to help you? Or where you just being a drama queen, for the sake of getting attention?I don't think regular people do or should know how to FTP, but I mean you're the super awesome scoble blogging since the dawn of man, and now working for a hosting company, and not “regular people”. You can't be Mr Web 2.0 when it suits you and then be “regular people” when that works for you. Pick a side and stick to it don't waffle about everything you do/say choosing the side that gets you the most eyeballs.

  14. Hey! It's important that all those stuff doesn't work on first try. We need room and jobs for the IT specialists, who try and try again. ;-)

  15. Hey! It's important that all those stuff doesn't work on first try. We need room and jobs for the IT specialists, who try and try again. ;-)

  16. I agree with you Scoble… it's still too hard for “average” people — ie 'non engineers'. In the corporate environment where I work, managing and operating our network of Web sites, I constantly see people, smart people, trip and stumble over things I take for granted when I'm wearing my engineer's hat. Because I wasn't trained as an engineer, but became one through self-education (and my father was one, so I was exposed), I have more compassion for those normal folk. Of all the publishing tools I've seen in the last few years, the one I find most innovative is Posterous, because E-mail is the one tool everyone seems to have mastered (and no, I have no relationship with Posterous). If we could wrap a robust publishing, editing, and “uploading” interface around E-mail I think lots of normal folk would just be thrilled.

    .LAG

  17. I agree with you Scoble… it's still too hard for “average” people — ie 'non engineers'. In the corporate environment where I work, managing and operating our network of Web sites, I constantly see people, smart people, trip and stumble over things I take for granted when I'm wearing my engineer's hat. Because I wasn't trained as an engineer, but became one through self-education (and my father was one, so I was exposed), I have more compassion for those normal folk. Of all the publishing tools I've seen in the last few years, the one I find most innovative is Posterous, because E-mail is the one tool everyone seems to have mastered (and no, I have no relationship with Posterous). If we could wrap a robust publishing, editing, and “uploading” interface around E-mail I think lots of normal folk would just be thrilled..LAG

  18. Gray: you obviously are not a careful reader of what I wrote. I know how to use FTP. I'm trying to make the point that normal people don't know what FTP is anymore so asking them to “upload” files, and then not help them do that, makes a process overly complex in today's world. It's your attitude that turns mainstreet businesses off of this whole business in the first place. It's arrogant to demand that ANYONE know how to do this stuff.

  19. Gray: you obviously are not a careful reader of what I wrote. I know how to use FTP. I'm trying to make the point that normal people don't know what FTP is anymore so asking them to “upload” files, and then not help them do that, makes a process overly complex in today's world. It's your attitude that turns mainstreet businesses off of this whole business in the first place. It's arrogant to demand that ANYONE know how to do this stuff.

  20. “the average Google user will think that FTP is some kind of sexually transmitted disease” — That's the funniest thing I read all week.

  21. “the average Google user will think that FTP is some kind of sexually transmitted disease” — That's the funniest thing I read all week.

  22. Well, I've used FTP for years, so that wasn't a stumbling block for me. That said, it sure is for most folks. Especially those that do one-click blog installs or even had someone do it for them.

    Google should definitely do up a widget on this. Seems straightforward enough.

    On the other hand, I've seen almost zero value from this being on my blog, or anyone else's. Where is it going? I see a previous comment mentions future functionality but for right now it's a glorified visitor roll call.

    PS. If you don't know your FTP info, check the FAQ on your hosting site, or your account information there. Often mentioned there.

  23. Well, I've used FTP for years, so that wasn't a stumbling block for me. That said, it sure is for most folks. Especially those that do one-click blog installs or even had someone do it for them.Google should definitely do up a widget on this. Seems straightforward enough.On the other hand, I've seen almost zero value from this being on my blog, or anyone else's. Where is it going? I see a previous comment mentions future functionality but for right now it's a glorified visitor roll call.PS. If you don't know your FTP info, check the FAQ on your hosting site, or your account information there. Often mentioned there.

  24. Does the “main stream” really need to know how to install such things as Google Friend Connect? (or any other new widget, for that matter)

    That is, shouldn't they just be using a turn-key solutions that already implement various back-end things? I'd argue that adding something like GFC to a web site is something for the geeks and not something for the plumbers, teachers, or bar owners (though, in reality, most people know a little something about plumbing, teaching, or mixing a drink — but all of those things have been in our culture for much, much longer and this example is more like making the pipes, classroom, or the glassware).

  25. Does the “main stream” really need to know how to install such things as Google Friend Connect? (or any other new widget, for that matter)That is, shouldn't they just be using a turn-key solutions that already implement various back-end things? I'd argue that adding something like GFC to a web site is something for the geeks and not something for the plumbers, teachers, or bar owners (though, in reality, most people know a little something about plumbing, teaching, or mixing a drink — but all of those things have been in our culture for much, much longer and this example is more like making the pipes, classroom, or the glassware).

  26. 1st, I'm psyched that Scobie has added Friend Connect to his blog,
    2nd, we think he's right… our documentation could/should be better. Especially, for folks who use popular services that let you create “a site” without knowledge of how to upload files.
    3rd. Thanks to folks like Chris Lang who help bridge the gap.

    Mussie
    Product Manager, Google Friend Connect

  27. 1st, I'm psyched that Scobie has added Friend Connect to his blog, 2nd, we think he's right… our documentation could/should be better. Especially, for folks who use popular services that let you create “a site” without knowledge of how to upload files.3rd. Thanks to folks like Chris Lang who help bridge the gap. MussieProduct Manager, Google Friend Connect

  28. Dear Robert, i think that this toolbar is so 1.0 (make your website slowly..)!!!
    I use this for 1 month on my blog that I prefer Google Friend Connect widget for discussions or community options. ;)

  29. Dear Robert, i think that this toolbar is so 1.0 (make your website slowly..)!!! I use this for 1 month on my blog that I prefer Google Friend Connect widget for discussions or community options. ;)

  30. Google Friend connect is amazing idea , i also use similarsites.com to find more sites like this and to get more ideas to increasing my users base in my site

Comments are closed.