I have removed the Google Friend Connect social bar from the site. It was an interesting test, but there are a few things that still need work with Friend Connect before I would really recommend it for most websites.
- Internet Explorer 6 – While I have no love for Internet Explorer 6, there is still a significant number of people that still use it. The Google social bar does not play nice with Internet Explorer 6. It appears fine on the first load, but scrolling down the page the bar does not stay locked at the bottom of the screen but scrolls up making it difficult for people to read the content. If you are still using Internet Explorer 6, please consider upgrading to a better browser, like Firefox, Chrome or even Safari.
- Load Time – It is slow. Page load times are significantly slower when the social gadgets are install. This is expected when you add any gadget or widget to a website, but if you are concerned about load time at all Google Friend Connect might not be for you.
Websites where Google Friend Connect is great are sites where there is not a social component built into the website already. Blogs already have a social component built into them with commenting and the Google Friend Connect social gadgets tend to take away from that social aspect instead of adding to it. On websites without a built in social component the Google Friend Connect social gadgets can be a good compliment to the website.
I can see the potential of Google Friend Connect, but at this time I do not think I want it here. I will keep my eye on Google Friend Connect, and perhaps give it another try at some point in the future.
Update: Google has released a Friend Connect API and there is now a plugin to allow people to login and comment on a blog using Friend Connect. I posted about it here: Google Friend Connect API and WordPress Plugin and currently have the comment plugin installed. (Mar 12, 2009)