Google releases Friend Connect, a DIY Social Networking service

It might be a way for Google either to dilute the value of Social Networking or a quick fix to get its Opensocial initiative out and running but Google Friend Connect will get observers and analysts questioning the giant overarching strategy.

Friend Connect will allow website owners to include social networking features to their online properties like user registration, invitations, member galleries, message posting, reviews, third party applications etc.

Users will be able to communicate, invite, attract and interact with friends on other popular social network platforms by using OpenID, OAuth, OpenSocial and other data access APIs.

Website owners will also be able to "enrich" their websites with a wealth of gadgets provided by Google and the OpenSocial developer community and to make things even better, require just a few snippets of code through copy and paste.

Surprisingly, Google is aiming at a wide range of websites as its examples show - a filmmaker den, a guacamole cooking website, an independent musician portfolio and a Bible expert.

The search engine appears to be willing to reduce the complexity of setting up social networking websites in order to boost up the page views and consequently the revenues from independent websites that would sign in.