Will Google Connect the dots before Facebook does?

In the very Macaron flavoured world of the Melbourne Food Blogosphere everyone seems to use blogspot. I don’t usually have much to say about Blogger but more out of pure ignorance than any steadfast knowledge of its technical merits. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to use it, probably opting for the more independent, open-source based WordPress.com for a hosted blogging solution. However one thing I have noticed is the prominence of Google Connect paraphenalia in the sidebar of many of these blogs. These widgets allow me to “follow” each blog, what this means I have no idea as I thought I already was “following” them in my Google Reader account. Surely this has some other functionality other than me giving the blog owner nothing more than a vote of confidence that someone else likes their website.

The other thing that I have noticed recently is the growing prominence of Facebook Connect logins on a number of websites. Each of these things growing is a sign of things to come and I’m sorry FriendFeed but you aren’t involved. The minute one of these 2 systems starts providing me, and my friends (my real not geeky internet type friends) some real value they will go ballistic.

Already I’m liking the Twitter/FriendFeed style flow that has been brought to my Facebook page, not the AJAX fueled “Live Status” updates that was there before, but the I refresh the page and there is something new there every time style updates. Old friends I haven’t spoken to in a while have sent me messages, I’ve seen photos I wouldn’t have seen and I’m feeling the love for Facebook again. It’s just a matter of time until I start seeing every website that anyone has performed an action on showing up in there and being able to comment on it.

Likewise I think that is what is missing from Google’s network, a home page, a public profile page, a place where people can come and see that I’ve found a heap of cool new blogs today, found a love of commenting on blogs and generally learnt how to truly waste time in the blogosphere and that doesn’t include the hour I spent on Google Reader this morning.

There is a heap of different technologies at play here, Jabber/XMPP, RSS/Readers, Social Networking, Blogs, Comments, Forums and Status. Saying that tying them together is the next big thing is like closing the gate after the horse has bolted, but I can’t wait until one of these massive companies can tie them all together.

The Facebook “Friend”

It’s a common occurence these days, someone requesting you to be your friend on Facebook who you aren’t actually friends with. What is a friend? Usually my guideline is that if I walked past any of these people in the street, I’d stop and have a yar or maybe sit down for a quiet (or not so quiet ale). Now recently, my social network has intersected with groups of people that went to highschool with me, lots of these people I didn’t ever speak to at school let alone was I friends with, so should I tweak my “rule” and add people who I know but really wouldn’t have a beer with.

You see the problem I have with adding these “known strangers” isn’t with them getting to stalk me. It’s that if I send out an invitation to all of my friends to come to a party – I only want the “have a beer friends” to come. At the end of the day, more friends are cool – Right?

Facebook wall-to-wall and the back button

I’ve recently been working with the awesome Really Simple History javascript library to make Ajax loaded pages bookmarkable, it’s a bit confusing at times, but really not too hard. But it’s amazing when you work on something like that, how much it makes you notice when other websites don’t execute the little things well. For example, when you go to your wall-to-wall with someone in Facebook, post a message and then hit back nothing changes. You have to hit back again to get back to your profile. Essentially, the interface is wasting the fact that the roundtrip to the server has been done with Ajax. Grr.