By offering Friend Connect, which can be added to a web property by simply adding a snippet of code to the site, Google removes the technological barriers of offering social applications.
Website owners can now attract more traffic to their sites and keep them engaged utilizing the social gadgets created by Google and OpenSocial developers. Some of the main gadgets offered are member management, message board, reviews, and picture-sharing.
So in a nutshell, Google Friend Connect helps website owners in three major ways:
Increase Traffic -Visitors get engaged and bring along their Internet friends and connections from social networks such as Facebook, orkut and MySpace.
Improve Engagement KPIs - People can get more involved by getting engaged with social features developed by Google and the OpenSocial developer community.
Reduce Cost to Market - With no programming needed, the technological and financial barriers of adding social features to the sites are removed.
Friend Connect can also give Google more insight into the websites' audiences by mapping a virtual representation of a social user on the web. This will eventually help Google provide more robust advertising through Google AdSense and Placement Targeting by providing demographic and interest segmentation.
This Google application has major implications on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) as it incorporates user generated content to the sites.
Here is a video that shows how Google Connect works:
Update: now also posted on Onedegree.
Nima Asrar Haghighi