Google’s newest foray into social media will launch tonight in preview release at Campfire One . Google’s announcement about Friend Connect  states that webmasters may use the service to easily set up social media sharing services on their sites, encouraging online communities to develop and potentially help to promote the site. Google Friend Connect functionality includes user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, reviews, and third-party applications provided through Google’s OpenSocial  developer community.
Social media sharing sites are one important component of overall natural search optimization, and are often lumped into the broad genre of “Web 2.0” sites.
Here at Netconcepts, we have long been preaching  the potential benefits of many different facets of social media integrations, including RSS, blogging, bookmarking links, wikis, and more. Such collaborative tools enable a site’s content and referral links to become much more broadly distributed and encourage viral-type phenomena. It’s still too early to see whether Friend Connect will be really valuable for promotional purposes, but it could be a worthwhile service right away for sites seeking to easily add social features to their web presence.
If you’re interested in some of the key aspects involved with effectively incorporating Web 2.0 features with sites from a natural search optimization angle, I’ll be presenting information on this topic at the upcoming session on “Web 2.0 & Search Engines” session at the SES Conference in Toronto  next month.