Facebook imports Gmail data anyway, Google "disappointed"

By on November 9, 2010, 1:17 PM
Facebook has decided to ignore Google's attempt to block the social networking site from grabbing the search giant's data, according to All Facebook. Palo Alto has found a way around Mountain View's restriction and is leveraging a Google feature that lets users download their own data for their own use. Facebook gives its new users a direct download link and then instructs them to upload the Google file back to Facebook.

Last week, Google banned Facebook from accessing Gmail social and professional contact information. The company tweaked its the Terms of Service for its Google Contacts Data API so that websites which access Google Contacts will need to offer access to their data too. Facebook has never allowed users to export their contact information, and it doesn't think that now, when Google wants its data so badly, is a good time to start.

Nevertheless, the world's biggest social network still wants its new users to find out whether their Gmail contacts also have Facebook accounts, so it has implemented the aforementioned workaround. It may require a few more steps (it's not automated unlike the previous method that used Google's API), but it means Facebook gets what it wants, without having to give Google access to its much more valuable social graph. As we've already said, this means war. Google likely won't give up so easily, but it can't simply disable the feature for exporting contacts, so the company is going to have to fight Facebook via other means.

"We're disappointed that Facebook didn't invest their time in making it possible for their users to get their contacts out of Facebook," a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "As passionate believers that people should be able to control the data they create, we will continue to allow our users to export their Google contacts."


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