Google Launches Social Graph API

    February 1, 2008

To list a few of life’s little nuisances: we require food.  Our cars require fuel.  And some online apps require user bases to make them worthwhile.  Google hasn’t yet solved those first two issues, yet it turns out the company is working on the third.

To be honest, this situation can get frustrating.  We’ve seen it from a reviewer’s standpoint, but as Brad Fitzpatrick writes on the Google Code Blog, "So you’ve just built a totally sweet new social app and you can’t wait for people to start using it, but there’s a problem: when people join they don’t have any friends on your site.  They’re lonely, and the experience isn’t good because they can’t use the app with people they know."

In the above video, Fitzpatrick explains what his company has done about this.  To give a brief recap (or summary, if you didn’t watch the thing), the new Social Graph API finds existing public connections between people and brings them to their attention as they join new sites.

Privacy- and spam-related issues may pose roadblocks – despite Google’s efforts to stay aboveboard, the Social Graph API’s abilities may come as a surprise to some.  Otherwise, as with any new thing, it looks like there’ll just be the matter of seeing if (and how quickly) adoption occurs.