Google Adds New Social Media Features to Friend Connect

Google's Friend Connect has expanded its roster of social networking and social media services that participating Web publishers can add to their sites.

Friend Connect now has a new section called "Interests" that lets Web publishers pose questions to visitors who register with their sites about their likes, hobbies and preferences.

The information people provide gets added to the profiles they have set up on the publisher's site, allowing users to learn about each other's interests, Google said Wednesday.

In addition, Friend Connect has a new feature that lets Web publishers provide users the ability to send private messages to each other via their site profiles.

Web publishers will also be able to aggregate and analyze this "interests" data that people make public, and thus use it to fine-tune and tweak the site.

For example, Friend Connect now lets Web publishers create, send and manage newsletters, which can be personalized for different types of users based on their stated interests, according to Google.

Google is also making available a new gadget application that automatically packages links to a site's content based on a user's interests.

A new AdSense section lets Web publishers display ads from Google that are relevant not only to a site's topic but also to specific user interests.

Currently, about 9 million sites use Friend Connect.

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