Google has followed Facebook and MySpace in setting up a facility to enable users to interact freely across sites.
Google is rolling out an initiative aimed at breaking down the walls between social networking sites and allowing their users to interact freely across the internet.
It follows the launch of similar schemes by Facebook and MySpace, which are attempting to allow users to connect with each other across the web, rather than being restricted to individual sites.
The relaxation of the long-standing 'walled-garden' approach, which has been crucial to the success of social networking sites, looks set to have a significant impact on their commercial models.
Removing the barriers between networks will allow individual sites to strengthen their relationships with users. However, it may also lead to a reduction in traffic to Facebook and MySpace, which, in the short term, could damage ad revenues.
The various initiatives being rolled out differ slightly, but all give users the power to extend their social network profiles on to other sites.
Google Friend Connect allows website owners to add a snippet of code to their site enabling them to offer social networking features without any complicated programming on their part.
As social networking moves into the mainstream, Google aims to cash in on sites using Friend Connect by targeting their users with a mix of search and display ads. With 99% of sites not yet socially enabled, this could provide Google with a significant new revenue stream. …