Google is to launch “Friend Connect” on Monday

Google will launch a new product on Monday called “Friend Connect,” which will be a set of APIs for Open Social participants to pull profile information from social networks into third party websites. The new tool is going to compete with data portability crowd like Facebook Connect from Facebook or Data Availability from MySpace.

Google has been taking a more open and distributed approach with its OpenSocial API, which allows compliant applications to work across any social network. By extension, Friend Connect would provide glue to allow any site to add a social dimension and build connections to other social networks.

The reason these companies are are rushing to get products out the door is because whoever is a player in this space is likely to control user data over the long run. If users don’t have to put profile and friend information into multiple sites, they will gravitate towards one site that they identify with, and then allow other sites to access that data. The desire to own user identities over the long run is also causing the big Internet companies, in my opinion, to rush to become OpenID issuers (but not relying parties), ” said TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington.

The key for all the data portability efforts (check out the DataPortability Project) is that users have granular controls to manage their data and to maintain privacy and security. Although, Facebook and MySpace have not fully disclosed how their privacy controls will work yet.

Source: TechCrunch

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