The much-anticipated rival to MySpace’s data availability project has entered its preview stage allowing site owners to sign up to the venture.

A Friend Connect preview portal has been launched and is focusing very much on helping webmasters to build up traffic by adding “just a few snippets of code” to their existing websites.

Google gadgets

Sign up to the site and Google promises a number of things. Adding Friend Connect on to your site and you can: attract more viewers, enrich your site with social features, and it all involves no programming whatsoever.

It’s the social features that seem to be the main focus of Friend Connect, though. These social gadgets will help with member management, message board, reviews, and picture-sharing.

The main gadget Google cites as providing social features is the members gadget. This will enable users of sites signed up to Google Friend to:   

  • Sign-in with their existing Google, Yahoo, AIM, or OpenID account
  • Invite and show activity to existing friends from social networks such as Facebook, Google Talk, hi5, orkut, Plaxo, and more
  • Browse member profiles across social networks
  • Connect with new friends on your site

Who has signed up?

Google has added four examples of sites that have signed up to the project. They are: My Latest Piece, a filmmaker’s website; Guacamole, a cooking site based around the dip; Ingrid Michaelson, an independent musician’s portal; and BibleApps, an open source developer.

There’s no information as of yet when Friend Connect will be available to the general public.