Social Bar – Cures IE GFC Woes and Widget Envy

Social bar by Google released today seems to cure IE problems, cleans up sidebars and promises a future free of widgets from hell and sidebar traffic jams created by the dreaded widget envy syndrome

Anyone that has followed me for long knows I frakin (bsg reference) hate widgets. HATE EM. What a waste of space that could be used for selling your products.

But NO, you would rather drag every piece of MyBlogLog junk on to the sidebar and drive us all crazy waiting for the damn thing to load. God forbid we don’t have a 20mb connection so we can load your freakin widget, I mean widgets, as in All 14 of them.

I just deleted my GFC sidebar widgets and the comment widget too. Look to the right, they are gone. Replaced by the social bar that Google just released here on the bottom of this page. Click on the various portions and see how it works. Slick huh?

Widgets are not for me and apparently not for Google as they are going to give us a little relief from widget hell with the new Social Bar. They seem to have cured the lack of functionality in IE as well. Your feedback is needed here, let me know how it is working on your end.

It also makes it easier to add friends

Add friends and get friends more easily both as a visitor and a blog owner. The widget shows the history, comments and activity of users on a blog so you can more easily find and add active new friends that use GFC more often.

It also makes it easier to moderate comments. Nice job here Google. I even like it.

Check out the Google video below so you can add it easily to your blog. Then below the video I will tell you the best way to add it you your blog.

Social Bar is Cool Huh?

Here is the bad news. It uses exact positioning and appears at the top of the page and may over run the header in many themes, no matter where you put it. It did so in this theme.

There is a way around this though. Set the property “Social bar position” which is your first choice on the GFC site to bottom and it will ride the status bar like it does here.

Also the Internet Explorer issues seem to be fixed as I was able to use IE6 to log in and comment just fine today. YES! What a welcome relief that Google has embraced that piece of junk known as Internet Explorer 6. I am using Opera lately myself.

Where to put the code?

I put all my widget code in the footer, that way the site loads fast, then the widget appears. Here’s how for WordPress new guys.

  1. Log into WordPress
  2. Click design
  3. Click theme editor
  4. Click footer.php
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the textarea
  6. Just above </body> add the Google code
  7. If this scares you, back up the code WP code first
  8. How? Right click the textarea
  9. Select all
  10. Right click and copy
  11. Open Notepad, paste in the copied code
  12. Save the file as footer.php
  13. Now add the Google code to the WP version
  14. If you screw it up you can go back

Now I can get that big glaring piece of widget out of my side bar and replace it with that good lookin pic of me pointing at who knows what. BTW, that was me a year ago pointing to the future, we are here if you didn’t notice.

Thanks to Social Arrow for catching this before I did and Google Reader to the rescue or I may have missed this gem.

30 comments on “Social Bar – Cures IE GFC Woes and Widget Envy

  1. Awesome! Thanks Chris for this tip! I would missed it too, love the way it hangs in at the bottom.

  2. Glen Crosier on said:

    Hi Chris – can’t see the social bar on this site – what does it look like ? Glen

  3. Glen, what browser are you using? It’s right below this, just look down… Also, you might not have cleared out your cache recently. Hold down CTRL then push F5, that clears Firefox out and loads a new page.

    I have tested it on my machine in IE6, Firefox and Opera, works fine.

  4. I have two bits of code generated:


    Which I’m told to put at top of my web page – I’ve a blog so shall I put this in the Header file?

    Followed by:

    2) The Javascript code which I’m happy to put in the footer.php as you describe.

    Thanks in advance as I like the Footer aspect and at Top, whether it covers Header grafix or not is too ‘in your face’ for my tender sensibilities.

  5. @Clive,

    There is only one piece of code, not two. You can put the code where ever you like, but I suggest in the footer so the site loads fast.

    If GFC is down your site will not load past the JavaScript when the browser gets there.

    Case in point: a Sphinn button at the top of a major SEO blog kept the body from loading because the Sphinn script was having problems.

    You might notice I no longer have Sphinn or Digg buttons on any of my pages.

    If I want my page submitted I will take care of that and I learned my lesson watching a major blog basically crash because of a third party widget.

  6. “What a waste of space that could be used for selling your products.”

    Chris, we argue a time ago about that. Now I’m glad I wasn’t wrong.

    I will try the new social bar soon.


  7. @Valieru,

    I have always agreed that widgets suck, however the worth of GFC over rides that completely.

    Not only does this give you a clean blog sidebar but it give a site history of visitors and makes it easier for us to friend blog owners.

  8. Wasn’t imagining 2 bits of code Chris see screenshot:

    Seems GFC saw my site as being in HTML (it once was) so, for anyone else who gets this error, I ignored first snippet and put the second in the footer as you describe and works fine.

  9. I loved this article… I was just getting tired of friend connect on the sidebar. Putting this at the bottom makes sense. Thanks for your frank review!


  10. Nice catch Clive.

    That is a HTML declaration that tells the browser how to interpret the JavaScript.

    Not necessary for WordPress blogs that already have it.

    Without that it would not compile the JavaScript properly and the widget would not work.

    It should go above the <html> tag at the beginning of the document should you not be using a WordPress blog or if your generated document or hand coded document does not have the proper declaration.

    If your webpage does not have it definitely include it. If it has a different one, replace it.

    Again, nice catch there Clive.

    – Chris

  11. Nice catch Chris, thanks for sharing this! Hope to connect with you when I’m in AZ next month.

  12. Glen Crosier on said:

    Ok Chris – can see it now – didn’t load earlier – using Chrome


  13. Yip FYI, on Blogger, don’t add the “snippet of code at the VERY TOP of your web page”. BTW Thanks Chris Lang for the GFC update; just perhaps the next email you might not sound so scary as “I just removed Google Friend Connect from ALL my sites. Here’s why and you should do the same.” After reading that I was ready to do just that since some of the glitches GFC has had for a start. Fortunately, I read your post. Now installed, I am like wow, GFC is on the Google ball! What a fantastic revolutionary concept to have GFC not take up space on the side bar!

  14. put it on my blog looks great

  15. Chris: The Social Bar is very cool. Thanks for the tip. I guess I am a little confused about your advising to delete Google Friend Connect, as if you’ve now decided that it’s a waste ot time. I think you are advising that we switch to essentially an upgraded GFC..right? Can we use the widget and social bar if desired (I know that is not your preference)? Is this actually called Tactics or is that your tag?

  16. @Travis, Looking forward to meeting up, better hurry before it gets hot again. LOL

    @Glen, that is funny, it didn’t load in Chrome. LOL

    @David, It may look good on your blog but it looks better on mine. WELOL

    – Chris Lang

  17. @Stephen, that is called “one great subject line”, too bad I did not pair it up with a salesletter. But the content was good enough it deserved to be seen.

    Now if the article had been a salesletter I would have gotten tons of unsubscribes, pissed off comments and generally hated on across the board.

    However this did warrant a subject line that got the click thru since what is here is SO worth seeing.

    It’s a toss up as to when you use a subject line that is over the top (this one) or a mystery angle or just a straight up this is what I got line.

    You have to know your list and it has to be within bounds. In the end it is all a crap shoot.

    – Chris

  18. Awesome post, Chris. I’ll try it on my upcoming blog!

  19. I have to say this looks one heck of lot easier than the sidebar widget. Thanks for pointing us down this path, Chris ..

  20. I used the additional code at the top for Blogger and it appears to be working. Anyone have a problem with using the code in Blogger? ndpthepoetress is saying not to…why?? Thanx.

    The following is from Chris Lang…

    DO NOT add the extra code to, It is already there.

    IN FACT Google no longer adds that extra HTML declaration to set ups, at least not just now when I checked mine.

    If you are adding it to a webpage (not a WordPress blog file) but a web page say created by an online page creator or a web builder like Dreamweaver you may need to add the HTML declaration.

    If anyone who knows what they are looking at would like, view the source of any page and you will see it is already there. Will this hurt your blog? NO.

    If you wonder what a single line of code like that does you can just copy and paste it into Google and they will usually spit out something that can give you some idea.

    Also you can right click any page and select “view source” or something like it and see the HTML of any webpage.

    – Chris Lang

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  22. Chris have tried something different for my new Google mercenary blog its at top

    will test difference

  23. Hi Chris
    Well done mate. Great work.

  24. I just learned about Google Friend Connect from http://thesocialmedia Thanks for the great article on it to help me better understand the purpose of using it.

  25. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Social Bar - Cures IE GFC Woes and Widget Envy - Google Friend …

  26. Thanks Chris,
    You always give me things to talk about at my blogging class. Awesome.
    Well my only problem is not people can see that I hardly have any friends so far.
    Being social just takes too much time. Hey I will see about adding this any way.

  27. For what it’s worth, some tips regarding integration of the Social Bar:

  28. I currently have the social bar at the very top of my site – mainly because I wanted readers to see it after I had talked about it. I am moving it to the bottom so that it is not so intrusive. I do prefer the sidebar widget for its avatars and more intuitive use but it is slow to load.

    I have a toolbar always open at the bottom of my browser window and often the find bar sits there too. This hides the social bar or anything else that is at the very bottom of a webpage. I am going to add some padding (blank paragraphs would do too) to the bottom of my template so that the bar is visible to everyone. You may like to do this too :-)

  29. @Sueblimely, I agree, the social bar is easily overlooked. I am using it here to see how it performs.

    My subscribers are pretty well educated (by me) so it is effective on this site.

    However on a blog that is mainstream and not focused on Google Friend Connect and Google Social Networking I would not be so bold.

    Good point Sue.

  30. Hi, can anyone help me with my little problem?

    my social bar turns up at the very top of my sidebar, and not at the top of the whole page?

    any ideas?