Programmers continue to leverage Google's Friend Connect social application in new ways. Now, Websites that use Friend Connect can better communicate with their visitors using ClackPoint, a new gadget from startup Vipadia.
The ClackPoint gadget enables Website owners to offer text chat, conference calling and document sharing through a gadget for Friend Connect.
With the gadget, users can use text chat and dial in and converse either directly from their computers or by phone. The gadget uses status icons so users can see who is dialed in and who is talking. ClackPoint also offers a "shared notepad" to let multiple users edit at the same time, as well as slide sharing.
"Bringing live text, voice and document sharing into a Website keeps users on that site and strengthens the community built around it," the Vipadia team wrote in a blog post, which features pictures of how it works.
This is definitely true. However, TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid contends that business users won't leave Cisco's WebEx collaboration application for ClackPoint, and he's right. The gadget, which can be grabbed via URL here, is bare-bones enough for consumer or small business communication.
But a key point is that applications are being built using Friend Connect, which is key if Google expects that ecosystem to develop as an alternative to Facebook's popular Connect sharing application.
The jury is still out on both platforms, particularly as neither is making either company money. Google's and Facebook's programming teams will tell you fostering the socialization of the Web -- not making money -- is the point of their activities. But this may come into play when the teams are asked what value they're bringing to their companies.
The bigger question is, therefore, What value are Google Friend Connect and Facebook Connect bringing to their respective companies? If you know the answer, clue me in.