Google aims to "connect" users with shared interests

Google Friend Connect logoGoogle is expanding its Friend Connect service, which gives website owners simple plug-in tools to add social networking features to their sites. The new features aim to get folks with similar interests talking to each other, and gives site owners useful data for tailoring content and advertising.

Google is improving its service aimed at providing websites with social networking features by making it easier for users with shared interests to connect with one another. The company has announced a number of new features for its Google Friend Connect that center on collecting and utilizing information about a site users' interests.

The new features start off with a several ways to poll users for information about their particular interests. From your Friend Connect account, you can create a poll to ask your users site-relevant questions about what they are into. Then, you can have users answer the poll when they sign in to your site, via a poll gadget embedded in the site, or using the Friend Connect API. These interests are linked to users' profiles, and other users can use the information to find those with similar interests to, well, connect.

Site owners can use the data to create and send customized newsletters to users based on their stated interests. Linking your Friend Connect account with your Ad Sense account will also enable ads displayed on your site to be more personalized to your site or even a particular user's interests. And while Friend Connect offers data visualization options, the interest data you collect from your users can be exported for further analysis or to integrate with other third-party services.

Google Friend Connect

Google Friend product manager Mussie Shore explained the inspiration behind the new features using a comparison between seeing someone on a subway car versus seeing the same person in a guitar shop. "On the subway, I bump elbows with a guy for 20 city blocks without exchanging a single word," he wrote on The Official Google Blog. "Forty-five minutes later, I find the same guy at the local guitar shop, and we start to talk—turns out he plays a Gibson Les Paul just like I do. We may have been strangers on the train, but in the guitar shop, we discover our shared passion for guitars."

Source: ars technica

Tags: Google, Internet

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