Google Friend Connect links up with Twitter

Ronny Kerr · December 3, 2009 · Short URL:

Battle in the digital identity space: Yahoo partners with Facebook and Google partners with Twitter

With over 350 million users registered, Facebook has some of its competitors in the digital identity space legitimately concerned that Facebook Connect could quickly and easily rule supreme as the ultimate agent for universal login access and sharing across networks.

Google friend connectThis ominous and very real possibility necessarily provided the backdrop for Google's announcement Wednesday that it would be marrying its own Friend Connect service with Twitter account logins. Starting yesterday, users can now log in to any of the nine million Google Friend Connect-enabled sites with a Twitter user name and password.

Much in the same way that Facebook Connect sites allow for seamless transfer of updates and information exchange to Facebook from external sites, Google says that logging in to a Friend Connect site with a Twitter user name will automatically link the associated Twitter profile. As a result, tweeting to your followers about the third-party site should take nothing more than a click.

Though this may help Google flesh out its digital identity service a bit more, getting Twitter on board is small-time stuff compared to, say, partnering up with Facebook. And that's exactly what Yahoo did, as it announced on Wednesday that it will be integrating Facebook Connect into a plethora of Yahoo Web properties, like its Mail, News, Sports, and Finance sites. Because some of these properties boast memberships in the tens of millions, this is no small win for Facebook as well.

Check out this video of Google Friend Connect + Twitter in action.

Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Trends and news" series

More episodes

Related Companies, Investors, and Entrepreneurs



Joined Vator on

What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.