Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Google Friend Connect on Blogger

Today, I was given access to add Google Friend Connect widgets to my blogs and other sites. I use Blogger for my blogs and was initially concerned that I would not be able to complete step 2 in the setup process because it requires that you upload two files to the root directory of your web site; something Blogger does not support. However, my Blogger blogs already contained the required two files which can be explained by the fact that Google owns Blogger.

Google Friend Connect Widgets

I added three Google Friend Connect widgets: the members widget, wall widget, and review widget; all of which can be seen in this blog's right sidebar. As you can see, a point of confusion is that the members widget is different than the followers widget. What is the difference between members and followers? From what I can deduce, members are allowed to write wall comments and reviews while followers are not allowed to do so. In addition, a follower is following using their Blogger profile while a member has joined the Google Friend Connect network using a Google Friend Connect-specific profile.

The members widget applies to an entire site but the wall and review widgets can be applied to the entire site or to individual pages. Currently, my wall and review widgets apply to the entire site. Although, of the two, the review widget would be better suited as a per post widget.

Google Friend Connect Administration

The Google Friend Connect administrative tools provide the ability to view membership reports, moderate comments and reviews, and assign administrators. Overall, Google Friend Connect is easy to install and manage since there is not much too it. Finally, it will be interesting to learn whether or not Google Friend Connect widgets improve reader engagement and interaction.

Update 5/18/2010

I have removed the Google Friend Connect widgets from this blog because they reduce page speed as reported by Google Webmaster Tools and the Google Page Speed tool.

26 comments:

  1. How did you determine that the files were already on your blog? I too have a blogger blog, but I had no success in adding the gadgets you mentioned...and no idea of how to add the two requisite files to the blog. Seems incredible that the folks at Google, who are touted to be such geniuses (genii?) would release something like this with no instructions to their OWN blogger.com users on how to implement it. Any advice warmly appreciated!

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  2. Hey, can you tell me where exactly paste the widget code in blogger template?

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  3. Petter, I skipped the step that said download the two files and somehow the next step (i.e., inspection) validated. I too was disappointed by the lack of instructions. I spent 15 minutes searching to find out how to install the two files only to find out that I did not need to install them.

    Vinit, in layout mode, I clicked "Add Gadget". From that popup, I clicked "HTML/JavaScript" and pasted the Google Friend Connect code into that gadget. Does that solve your problem?

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  4. Petter, also, there was a period last night where the Google Friend Connect widgets were not working but they are working for me this morning.

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  5. Thanks, I can install it on my blog after I read your explanation here :)

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  6. Hey, thanks for the help... :)

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  7. I'm interested to see how Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect work out. Who do you think has the upper hand? Perhaps they aren't directly at odds with one another?

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  8. Kevin, I think Facebook has at least one advantage which is that each user has one profile. With Google, I have multiple profiles: a gmail account w/contacts, a Blogger profile, a Google Knols profile, and a Google Groups profile. One Google profile would be preferred.

    With Facebook, your profile is the center of all of your activity whereas Google Friend Connect seems more about the sites you've joined and less about becoming friends with people.

    I am reserving judgment on both Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect and, specifically, I need to read more about Facebook Connect to understand it better; maybe even add it to this site :)

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  9. how do you get your posted comments on your blog to show up under the original posting.

    On my blog, the have to click on the "Comments (9)" to see the nine comments. I hate that. i want them listed like yours is. Any help is much appreciated.

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  10. This is not that hard, it confused me at first, but then I played with it and it was obvious.

    As long as the Blogger blog is straight hosted at Blogger, not on it's own domain, all you have to do is sign up to Google Friend Connect and create the code.

    I added a video to show you how to do this on my Google Friend Connect blog.

    Yes the files are there, but you have to be using a Blogger subdomain.

    Also we theorized the Followers widget was Friend Connect, but it looks like Google changed that by the time they rolled it out.

    Hence the Followers members have no permissions in Google Friend Connect.

    Hope this helps, - Chris Lang

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  11. Jack, I think by default comments show up on each blog post's individual page. For example, comments show up on the bottom of your blog post here: http://blogandcookies.blogspot.com/2008/09/funniest-6-seconds-ever.html but not on the home page: http://blogandcookies.blogspot.com

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  12. Chris, thanks for the additional information.

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  13. Jack, looks like embedded comments might have been accidentally turned on for this blog by Blogger. I turned it on permanently: http://buzz.blogger.com/2008/10/commenting-made-easier.html

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  14. i will try to do it too...thanks for the info.

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  15. where did you find Subscribe By Email gadget? I've looked everywhere and can't find it.

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  16. Just skip the whole aggravation and install the followers widget right from Blogger, it is GFC and always has been.

    I told you all this back in September of 08 when I predicted the the Followers widget is GFC. Stop wasting your time and just add Followers.

    Besides when you do that THEN you get the RSS feed of Blogger added to Google Reader when anyone subscribes.

    This feature has come and gone lately in GFC members widgets else where. So, above it all this is the reason for use the followers widget.

    Just hang tight, Google has more in store....

    Chris Lang
    http://googlingsocial.com

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  17. how to bypass google's block http://bceu.blogspot.com/2009/04/install-friend-connect-in-blogger.html

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. I just did a video on how to FTP and download the files for those having that problem on hosted blogs.

    How to FTP Google Friend Connect FilesFor those using blogger I have another video to follow soon.

    However the Followers widget IS Google Friend Connect, it always has been since it came out in Sept. 2008. Just add the Followers widget and there is NO difference.

    If you are not in Internet marketing where many of your visitors know what a GFC social bar is, I would opt for the gadget rather than the social bar.

    You will get much better results with the Followers gadget than the social bar. I use both in fact. That way I get the functionality of the comments etc and I get the higher rate of opt in for someone who is new at this.

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  20. Same Google Friend Connect on my site AND on my Blogger blog - -Possible?



    I know this might not be exactly the right place to ask this question, but I've been googling the solution without success for 2 days and I'm beginning to go nuts.

    It's a simple question - I have GFC on my site
    http://www.real-english.com/
    It works fine.

    I want to have the same Google Friend Connect on my new Blogger Blog
    http://the-original-real-english.blogspot.com/
    WITH my existing members. But when I add the widget to Blogger in the normal way, I am the only member. The other 400 members are not present.

    I tried copying my "successful code" used on my site to Blogger, and that didn't work, so I tried tweaking the code in an attempt to understand the error message
    "We're sorry...
    This gadget is configured incorrectly. Webmaster hint: Please ensure that "Friend Connect Settings - Home URL" matches the URL of this site."

    Any ideas? Boy, would I be grateful!

    Mike Marzio

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  21. Mike, I recommend creating a URL blog.real-english.com/ and configuring your DNS and your blogger blog http://the-original-real-english.blogspot.com/ to use that new URL. Then try using the same GFC code in both places. Let me know if that works. Google doesn't let you use code across multiple domains because it does not want people stealing other people's GFC members.

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  22. Thanks a mill

    sounds spot on

    will report back

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  23. Before you go and hack up your DNS and start creating domains, try this.

    Actually the way I see to do this is to take a look at the advanced tab under settings.

    There it will allow you to set a secondary domain to use the same code on. We were able to use that and display my GFC members gadget on another domain.

    Here is what Google has to say:

    Alternate addresses:

    These are the complete "http://" addresses of any other sites allowed to use your Friend Connect gadgets. For instance, if your site can be seen at multiple addresses (e.g. http://example.com and http://example.net), put those other addresses here.

    Put one address per line.

    That is the exact text from GFC, don't know how Blogger feels about that.

    HOWEVER: Don't do this, the best BENEFIT of Blogger is that when someone joins your widget, they get your RSS feed added to Google Reader and the "Blogs you are following" profile page. Currently only a Blogger feature.

    I am positive that Google has much more in store for Blogger, just not public yet.

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  24. Robert, I want to thank you for your suggestion, and I also want to thank Chris. In the end, Vin Blog*Star, The Blog Doctor (drbhatns at gmail dot com) provided the simplest solution for dumb guys like me to understand easily.

    I quote him:

    "In your Friend Connect Settings----> Advanced tab, add your blogspot URL
    as alternate address and save. Then paste Members gadget code in a
    HTML gadget".

    VoilĂ . Works like a charm.

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  25. Hi,

    I was following the comments above and wanted to achieve something similar to what Michael did.

    I have multiple blogs and want to use the same friend connect widget across all blogs. I tried to use the "Alternative Addresses" feature but the problem is that the "Setting" option is only available for new sites that I add under Friend Connect. The Settings option is not available for your existing blogs, which get added by default in friend connect.

    Is there a way to get to the "Settings" option for existing blogs?

    Thanks.

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  26. Harwinder, I just viewed the friend connect admin site for the first time in several months. There are a lot of new features (e.g., newsletters, featured content). I do not see a "Setting" option for any of my blogs and am unsure how to use one friend connect widget on more than one of my blogs, sorry. Does the "Plug-ins & APIs" section provide your desired flexibility?

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