Web 2.0 brought about the evolution of the social web. But there have always been challenges working socially on the web, especially with social marketing or social networking. The challenge is that it can be difficult to stay active socially, even just in your niche. Google is trying to change that.Yesterday Google released a preview of its Google Friend Connect. This is the evolution of web 3.0 in its early stages. In the May issue of Website Magazine, web 3.0 (or the “Semantic Web”), “…is about meaning – understanding the context of a word or concept to offer relevant resources, thereby making it easier for people to find what they seek.” And the easiest way to gain understanding and make it easier to find what you seek is by asking your friends, or better yet, just letting them openly share with you and vice-versa.

Understanding Google Friend Connect

So, the trend is towards understanding and meaning through socially interacting. Site owners will get control initially but all users will benefit. Here is what Google is doing with Friend Connect to help make that possible (once you have signed up): Social Gadgets After you have your account set up and your URL entered, you will be presented with a “dashboard”. Inside this there is a catalog of “social gadgets” for your site. There are a variety of gadgets to choose from but the one that really stands out (okay not at first) is the members gadget. This almost mimics the MyBlogLog widget, where visitors can join and get involved a bit. You might ask why this one is the important one if MyBlogLog (MBL) already has something like it. The answer is MBL’s functionality and interactivity stop short of Friend Connect. Import your Facebook friends, invite friends from other social sites, opt to connect all your social accounts and publish activity from your Friend Connect gadgets on your site to all your other social accounts. Visitors who join your site can also do this by connecting them to all their friends from your site. With rating and comment capabilities and photo uploading capabilities, your site turns into its own social powerhouse (even if you’re not web 2.0 yet…). Don’t wanna go through inviting? Your activity shows up on your microblogs and other social sites so your friends can see your comments and find like interests that were unknown. It’s MBL, social networking, microblogging, social bookmarking and more, all in one. Connecting Friend Connect with Facebook Connect After all of that, you may need to sit down. It is a lot to take in. And with a little vision, it could be the most connected item out there. For example, combine Google Friend Connect with Facebook Connect to get data portability and connectivity like never before imagined. What used to take hours, sometimes days to set up and get active, now can be done in almost no time. And as long as your are active on line, your friends will know about it.

Predictions

This is purely speculation, but... A future marriage of Google and Facebook may be imminent. A marriage between these two would become the front runner for the future of the internet not just next year, but ten years down the road. Despite some of Google’s problems where advertising (AdWords and AdSense) is concerned, social is the future and they are right on top of it. And Facebook -- whether through third-party extensions like BlogIt by Six Apart or their own development teams -- is keeping stride with Google every step of the way. Makes you wonder what the future holds for MySpace, Yahoo!, MSN, and the like…