SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Google and Facebook have launched rival technology platforms that can be used to infuse websites with trendy social-networking features.
A Facebook Connect service that was tested for months with selected partners is now available to anyone interested in transforming static websites into interactive communities of users.
Internet colossus Google picked the same day to unveil a beta, or test, version of Friend Connect software aimed at "any webmaster looking to add a dash of social to his or her site."
Online communities and user-contributed content are core aspects of the evolution of life on the Internet and the superstar California companies are evidently jockeying to be the preferred platform for websites.
Facebook Connect lets outside website operators tie into the social-networking website so its more than 130 million users can range the Internet from profile pages taking friends and data with them.
"Our users come to our sites to consume and engage with content around the topics they care about most," said Michael Marquez, executive vice president of strategy and corporate development at CBS Interactive.
"We create active communities around this content, and Facebook Connect makes it easy for our users to share their opinions, ideas and advice with their entire social network."
"We opened Facebook Platform in 2007 to enable hundreds of thousands of developers to create meaningful social experiences for users on Facebook.com," said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
"With today's launch of Facebook Connect, we're extending that power to millions of entrepreneurs and developers, transforming the Web into a more social place where Facebook's users can engage in trusted social experiences with their friends."
Google Friend Connect provides website operators with computer codes that add social-networking features such as creating personal profiles, finding users with similar tastes, or interacting online with friends.
"Friend Connect's goal is to facilitate an open social Web," Google product manager Mussie Shore wrote in a blog posting.
"This service lets webmasters add social features to their sites by simply copying and pasting a few snippets of code; no advanced coding or technical background required."
Friend Connect lets people log into participating websites using existing Google, Yahoo, America Online or OpenID accounts instead of requiring users to set up new log-in names and passwords.
"Friend Connect makes it simple for people to instantly interact with one another on the sites that they already love to visit," Shore wrote.
"Additionally, websites that use Friend Connect become OpenSocial containers, capable of running applications created by the OpenSocial developer community."
OpenSocial is a set of computer applications developed by Google, MySpace and other Internet firms to serve as a common social-networking platform that breaks down walls between websites.
The Facebook platform program is available to developers at http://developers.facebook.com/connect.php.