Prominent Israeli tech blogger Orli Yakuel has just installed the first Google Friend Connect widget we’ve seen yet in the wild. The service lets visitors to a website with Friend Connect enabled see the friends of theirs from other social networks who are also members of that website’s community. It’s like a cross network MyBlogLog, but hopefully even cooler.
We were highly critical of Friend Connect when it was originally unveiled, but it’s exciting none the less to see the thing go live. The program still requires publishers to request access, but the slow roll out to approved publishers appears to have begun.
So far we’ve seen a few notable details emerge. The platform is still in its formative stages, publishing to the newsfeeds of other social networks is still only enabled for the Orkut sandbox. That will be an important part of what Friend Connect offers.
The service still says “connect with your Facebook friends!” despite the high-profile shut down of access by Facebook. The settings interface says “blocked by Facebook.”
There’s limited functionality that we’ve seen so far, but Yakuel has implemented a messaging widget. In that widget users have the option to view all messages left on her site or just the messages left by their friends.
We’ve been critical of Google’s approach to the connections, which goes on in an iFrame and does not appear to allow programmatic access to social graph or other data on the part of the publisher. Privacy issues are a big concern, but we hope that all of these social/data portability type initiatives will place a premium on enabling developer innovation as well.
We’ll be watching the Go2Web2.0 blog for more details in a post later this morning.