Google Friend Connect Now Speaking In Tongues - InformationWeek
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5/8/2009
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Google Friend Connect Now Speaking In Tongues

Comments gadget topples language barriers by allowing Web site visitors to post and read comments in their own tongue.

Google on Thursday extended Google Friend Connect, its social gadget set for Web site owners, across language barriers with an enhanced comments gadget.

The revised comments gadget allows Web site visitors to post and read comments in their own language through Google's automatic translation technology.

"With this gadget, visitors from all over the world can leave messages in their native tongue, and other viewers will be able to instantly translate these comments into the language of their choice," Google Friend Connect product manager Mussie Shore said in a blog post.

The benefit for Web site owners and visitors is obvious: greater community engagement. The downside -- of gadgets in general -- is ceding more page real estate to a third party. While Google may be a welcome houseguest on many home pages, the presence of its software takes up room that might otherwise be used for unique content. It also raises questions about whether Google and other gadget makers are privy to too much information about what goes on at the Web sites they're enhancing.

But perhaps the appeal of gadgets like Google's says more about the modest creative aspirations of Web site owners than it does about Google's proclivity to expand to fill all available space. When what one has to say can be squeezed into a tweet, it may be for the best to have Google filling the content void by encouraging interaction.

And Google has been doing its best to accomplish that. It has recently added an Event gadget, for promoting upcoming events and tracking planned attendance; a Poll gadget, for running polls on one's site; and a Get Answers gadget, to solicit questions and answers from site visitors.

It also has begun showing Google Profile results at the bottom of search results pages generated by queries for names in the United States.


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