Today Google posted an article about the new implementation process for Friend Connect, the company’s identity service which competes directly with Facebook Connect. In a blog post today, the company wrote, “We’ve heard from a number of you that uploading files to activate your website is not always easy. So starting today, you no longer have to worry about downloading or uploading files.” Instead, you can go download any one of a number of widgets that the company now provides. The only thing you need to be able to do is edit HTML.
Earlier this week Facebook released their “Connect Wizard” which essentially walks users through the process of implementing Facebook Connect. While installing Facebook Connect on your site requires uploading a file, the company recently released a service which doesn’t require any upload: the “Fan Box widget“, which instantly turns visitors into Facebook Page fans. Not only do users get a community on their site but they also get a full featured community platform: Facebook Pages.
We all know that Google has a fair amount of Facebook envy given that the majority of Facebook content is blocked from search engines. With 300 million users (and growing quickly), that means there is a substantial amount of content not available to Google. I’ve previously argued that all the information going into Facebook will be used to generate a better search engine.
Twitter appears to be the primary competitor in the real-time search race though. That must be why Google is taking as many opportunities as possible to try and stick it to Facebook. Saying that Google Friend Connect is a formidable competitor to Facebook Connect would be an understatement. Friend Connect is now installed on over 5 million websites, whereas Facebook only has “tens of thousands”. However when was the last time you heard a major announcement about a company launching support for “Friend Connect”?
If Google is going to launch a full court press against Facebook Connect they’ll have to battle Facebook in the place where it matters: the press. Google has a massive communications department which should be up for a battle with Facebook, however no large brands that we know of yet have implemented Google Friend Connect. That requires more than just a communications department. Is that the next step for Google Friend Connect?
For now, Facebook is still winning the hearts and minds of the masses when it comes to the identity race. The company also has the best mapping of the worldwide social graph, something Google still hasn’t accomplished. It will be interesting to see how this battle pans out. Do you think Google Friend Connect still has a shot at winning the identity wars?