It’s a known fact that Google and Facebook have long been locked in a fight over controlling the popularity over internet. However, Google might have taken the lead because they have blocked Facebook’s access to Gmail contacts.
Until now, Facebook was using Google’s Contact API to import the contacts of their Gmail users to suggest common friends on their social network. Google allowed this in the past, hoping that they the favor would be reciprocated and they would be allowed to access Facebook contacts, but it seems Facebook has other ideas.
Google’s sees this as Facebook not playing fair, so it made a small but significant change in its terms of service which will have a major impact on Facebook.
What’s the change? From now on if any website wants to import Google users’ contacts into their or their allied services they will need to offer back Google equal access to their contact database. Since Facebook denied access don’t be surprised when you sign into your Facebook account and find out that you are not getting any assistance from Facebook’s friend finder using your Gmail contacts.
Here is what a Google spokesperson told TechCrunch:
Google is committed to making it easy for users to get their data into and out of Google products. That is why we have a data liberation engineering team dedicated to building import and export tools for users. We are not alone. Many other sites allow users to import and export their information, including contacts, quickly and easily. But sites that do not, such as Facebook, leave users in a data dead end.
So we have decided to change our approach slightly to reflect the fact that users often aren’t aware that once they have imported their contacts into sites like Facebook they are effectively trapped. Google users will still be free to export their contacts from our products to their computers in an open, machine-readable format-and once they have done that they can then import those contacts into any service they choose. However, we will no longer allow websites to automate the import of users’ Google Contacts (via our API) unless they allow similar export to other sites.
Perhaps now, many Facebook users will realize the power of this contact export feature, especially new users who could immediately connect with dozens of their friends with a single click. Just imagine what a tedious task it would be for you to type and search for your friends one by one!