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Google offers websites social-networking tools

Friend Connect follows MySpace in connecting the web

In a bid to further connect web users Google has launched an application that will allow website creators to include social-networking tools and features on their sites.

Friend Connect offers small blocks of code that can be placed on websites to provide invitations to view content, message postings and other features including third-party applications created by Open Social.

Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li said in a blog: "What Google is essentially doing is making it easy to tap into new, emerging standards around social features."

The announcement follows similar schemes which have been launched by MySpace and Facebook. According to MySpace, its Data Availability Program will make it easier to share social data across websites.

Meanwhile senior platform manager at Facebook Dave Morrin said in his blog that Facebook Connect, which was launched almost straight after the Data Availability Program, would allow third-party sites to "'connect their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site".

Google currently has a waiting list for requests from websites to use the Friend Connect service. The search engine is expected to provide a number of sites with access to the scheme in the next few days and to even more sites in the coming months.

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