Google fights back at Facebook, warns users of data protection

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The fight between Google and Facebook has been heating up in recent months, ever since Microsoft joined the social network giant in a massive partnership. TechCrunch spotted that Google is now warning users that exporting their contact data to Facebook might be a bad idea.

Before today, Gmail users could login through Facebook, allowing the service to collect contacts, finding them on Facebook to connect with. Shortly after Facebook made this a feature on their website, Google blocked API access, preventing users from importing their data. Facebook then found a work-around for exporting your data, by exporting your contacts through Gmail, uploading them to the website.

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Facebook allows users to import data onto their website, but not export it to sites such as Google. After Facebook found a work-around for exporting your Gmail contact data, Google struck back by putting up a stern warning to users about sharing data on "a service that won't let you get it out."

The warning messages does not prevent users from exporting their data, as Google believes everyone should have control over their own data. The warning message, titled "trap my contacts now" allows users the option o file a complaint over data protectionism on their behalf.

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Of all the organizations to be the authority on "data protection" Google has the least credibility. Asking users if they are "super sure" and using scare tactics is exactly the level of professionalism we've come to expect from Google.

Ha ha ha ha ... "no! don't give Facebook your private data so they can sell it to advertisers! Give it to US so WE can sell it to advertisers!"

I really liked Google back when they cared more about search than sucking up every advertising dollar on earth. Seems like it's been a whlie, though.

Neither one of them are your saviors of light. They are both abusers of your data. However, since their services are both free, how can you complain exactly? Don't use their services if you don't agree with their behavior.

Furthermore, for those that don't care about Facebook/Google knowing things you decided to put on the internet, this seems like a big step backwards as we move towards hoops, hurdles, and walls of red tape to do what should be simple tasks.

Huh?

Google worried about people's data protection?

They are the biggest theives of data the world has ever seen. . . looking at the Street View cars that is :rolley eyes:

Sad. I didn't think GOOGL needed to stoop so low with such disclaimer; guess it goes to show who's the "kid" of the two. However, as mentioned in the response of the "FACEBK engineer" on TechCrunch (and at least until FACEBK creates a simple export process) I only trust my personal info to my facebook friends (my name, doB, photos, & other personal info) and I expect them to guard it well and not release without my permission.

Here's an interesting bit though: in Gmail all you need do is add the email address, and thats it - no ask-grant process. But on FACEBK you have to request and be granted permission before you access a friend's information (which infers it's not really yours). So, I wonder, shouldn't GOOGL's request be that "FACEBK should allow users request a download of their friends' info?" I bet that would be fun for each of the hundreds on the average user's friend list. :\

But this will be fun to watch.

Tola1005 said,
Sad. I didn't think GOOGL needed to stoop so low with such disclaimer; guess it goes to show who's the "kid" of the two. However, as mentioned in the response of the "FACEBK engineer" on TechCrunch (and at least until FACEBK creates a simple export process) I only trust my personal info to my facebook friends (my name, doB, photos, & other personal info) and I expect them to guard it well and not release without my permission.

Here's an interesting bit though: in Gmail all you need do is add the email address, and thats it - no ask-grant process. But on FACEBK you have to request and be granted permission before you access a friend's information (which infers it's not really yours). So, I wonder, shouldn't GOOGL's request be that "FACEBK should allow users request a download of their friends' info?" I bet that would be fun for each of the hundreds on the average user's friend list. :\

But this will be fun to watch.

The flaw in your logic being that a) adding an e-mail address is something that you first already have to know, you don't go searching for it b) an e-mail isn't all of a person's private information (DoB, workplace, location, whatever) it's just a reference point for sending text, and you can only do just that, not browse through 'posts', and c) you can send unfriended users on facebook messages anyhow, so they do the same thing. I just got a message with an invitation to support a release of a CD for some band I've never heard of from someone I've never heard of. It's spam, just like in any e-mail account.

To give away your email password not only is against any privacy policies but also it defies the common sense.

rfirth said,

but Google wants to own your data.

I agree Google and Facebook are just as bad as each other, Google read every email what gets sent to you. Apparently Google even log you ip and geonet location from the ip, i know Facebook does so you can see if other people are accessing your account. But my geonet location keeps saying up north in New Zealand even though im not haha

little-ninja-man said,

I agree Google and Facebook are just as bad as each other, Google read every email what gets sent to you. Apparently Google even log you ip and geonet location from the ip, i know Facebook does so you can see if other people are accessing your account. But my geonet location keeps saying up north in New Zealand even though im not haha

Google don't read your email.... they parse the page like any page with words just like facebook does to show ads.

geonet is not accurate because it will show the location of the copany that bought these IP address

little-ninja-man said,

I agree Google and Facebook are just as bad as each other, Google read every email what gets sent to you. Apparently Google even log you ip and geonet location from the ip, i know Facebook does so you can see if other people are accessing your account. But my geonet location keeps saying up north in New Zealand even though im not haha

i would really like u to explain to me how they manage to read the hundreds of millions of emails that pass through their servers everyday. How do they read that?

sweet5695 said,

i would really like u to explain to me how they manage to read the hundreds of millions of emails that pass through their servers everyday. How do they read that?

Parsing personal emails for identifying adwords and displaying contextual ads is considered reading emails.

busyanuj said,
that's quite a reaction from google! although I don't believe facebook would ever open up data the other way round

You sure they don't? They send info to Bing now, and it syncs contacts to WP7 as well. So I dunno, they sorta do already share info if you want to.

GP007 said,

You sure they don't? They send info to Bing now, and it syncs contacts to WP7 as well. So I dunno, they sorta do already share info if you want to.


Well, there is a difference. You're allowed access to the data, but you're not allowed to store the data on your server. So, for Microsoft, they can query the Facebook API all they want, they just can't store it (assuming they are working under the same rules FB has setup for everyone else). For Windows Phone 7, you the end user can get your contacts but Microsoft can't.

For a comparison, look at Hotmail and Gmail. You can't export your Facebook contacts to Hotmail or Gmail, because that would require them to store Facebook data on their (Microsoft/Google) servers. Well... technically it wouldn't, I suppose, but that's how they would want to implement it. There is a workaround where Gmail could implement Facebook Connect - which is what Bing basically does... but Google wants to own your data.

GP007 said,

You sure they don't? They send info to Bing now, and it syncs contacts to WP7 as well. So I dunno, they sorta do already share info if you want to.

Are you stupid or something? Bing does not sync contacts to WP7. Facebook has APIs for syncing contacts, which also work on Android, iPhone, WP7, Windows, Linux, Mac, etc. And Facebook does this all on its own.

Unlike Google, Bing does not data-mine the information they collect at the personal level, which is most likely the reason why Facebook chose Bing over Google. Well Bing doesn't do it so far anyway. Google has been data-mining every single piece of information they collect since they were born. In fact, Bing doesn't even store information collected from web-spidering for more than 6 months, while Google keeps it for 2 years. This is excluding the amount of information you give them through GMail, Maps, Youtube, etc. which stays with Google forever. Forever = ~15 years per recent studies. This would increase to thousands of years anytime soon with new storage technologies.

Ever wonder why you don't see contextual ads in your Hotmail? That's because Bing does not read your e-mails to generate those ads. Google does it all.

Edited by Jebadiah, Nov 11 2010, 9:50am :

rfirth said,

... So, for Microsoft, they can query the Facebook API all they want, they just can't store it (assuming they are working under the same rules FB has setup for everyone else). For Windows Phone 7, you the end user can get your contacts but Microsoft can't.

considering facebook's own practices with sharing your personal information with it's partners, it is ironic and disturbing that they wont let you export your own contact information. Don't even get me started on their privacy ****ups, personal information leaks, and stories of abusive application developers leeching off and selling personal information (the fact that they can do this is more disturbing than the fact that they did). Privacy at facebook is an unmitigated **** up on an almost daily basis. anyone that stores their 'life' in facebook really hasn't thought about the consequences - or more likely, hasn't had their ID stolen / abused yet.

if i had to choose trusting facebook, and google, well, it's the lesser of the two evils. Google wins. Ironic though, microsoft, a more mature company has gone through similar woes and has learnt to innovate and compete without being privacy douch├ęs. How far we've come.

Jebadiah said,
Are you stupid or something? Bing does not sync contacts to WP7. Facebook has APIs for syncing contacts, which also work on Android, iPhone, WP7, Windows, Linux, Mac, etc. And Facebook does this all on its own.

Unlike Google, Bing does not data-mine the information they collect at the personal level, which is most likely the reason why Facebook chose Bing over Google. Well Bing doesn't do it so far anyway. Google has been data-mining every single piece of information they collect since they were born. In fact, Bing doesn't even store information collected from web-spidering for more than 6 months, while Google keeps it for 2 years. This is excluding the amount of information you give them through GMail, Maps, Youtube, etc. which stays with Google forever. Forever = ~15 years per recent studies. This would increase to thousands of years anytime soon with new storage technologies.

Ever wonder why you don't see contextual ads in your Hotmail? That's because Bing does not read your e-mails to generate those ads. Google does it all.

Facebook didnt "choose" bing over google. Microsoft owns part of Facebook, so it's not like they chose.

When it comes to privacy and Microsoft, Google and Facebook, nobody has screwed as bad as Facebook.

The latest windows live messenger underlines words that match brannds, so that you can click on them and search. I'm pretty sure that requires them to read your IMs too, so that doesn't make it much different than Gmail.

I think for the most part people don't care that a damn machine is reading their emails for contextual ads, just as long as their info isnt being sent to shady companies, like what happened with facebook. And even 6 years later, Gmail still has much less intrusive ads than hotmail.


And nobody gives google any more information through gmail than with hotmail. Facebook is shady as hell. Those ads that some apps made using your friends's profile pictures, announcing that they had partaken in activities that they hadnt, were quite disturbing.

Can someone explain to me what is the problem with facebook using your contacts to find people to add as friends if you give permission? Did I miss something months ago? Whats with this facebook trap of not getting your data out of facebook?

Doli said,
Can someone explain to me what is the problem with facebook using your contacts to find people to add as friends if you give permission? Did I miss something months ago? Whats with this facebook trap of not getting your data out of facebook?

There is no problem imo, you pick if you want to do this or not, the thing here is that Google sees Facebook as a threat to it's Gmail lockin, which is the only service that really keeps people using Google, 2nd being a tie between maps and search the way I see it.

If you can export your contacts to Facebook then with all the services FB has going you barally have to use Google again really.

Doli said,
Can someone explain to me what is the problem with facebook using your contacts to find people to add as friends if you give permission? Did I miss something months ago? Whats with this facebook trap of not getting your data out of facebook?
There is no problem here. Google simply sees Facebook as a BIG competitor as stated above by GP007, so they are starting to show their *evil* colors. You'll see more of this Google crap very soon. **** Google.

Jebadiah said,
There is no problem here. Google simply sees Facebook as a BIG competitor as stated above by GP007, so they are starting to show their *evil* colors. You'll see more of this Google crap very soon. **** Google.

+5 Internets, Google is the most Evil of all.

Doli said,
Can someone explain to me what is the problem with facebook using your contacts to find people to add as friends if you give permission? Did I miss something months ago? Whats with this facebook trap of not getting your data out of facebook?

Facebook :Please create a new account, and don't forget to give us your email password then, we can spam your friends in you list for free.
And btw, your friends are now in our database, hurr hurr.

Jebadiah said,
There is no problem here. Google simply sees Facebook as a BIG competitor as stated above by GP007, so they are starting to show their *evil* colors. You'll see more of this Google crap very soon. **** Google.

I think they've been showing their evil colors for a while now.

Doli said,
Can someone explain to me what is the problem with facebook using your contacts to find people to add as friends if you give permission? Did I miss something months ago? Whats with this facebook trap of not getting your data out of facebook?

Facebook wants your GMail details to find others from your list who use facebook...
GMail can't search through your facebook friends to find other GMail users...
Google thinks this is unfair, and has decided to put a warning up, to make people aware of this.

Facebook could choose to open up the friends list for other services to look through, in the same way it looks through other services' friends/contacts lists. But Facebook wont, because it stops Facebook from being the centre of the internet.

martinDTanderson said,

Facebook wants your GMail details to find others from your list who use facebook...
GMail can't search through your facebook friends to find other GMail users...
Google thinks this is unfair, and has decided to put a warning up, to make people aware of this.

Facebook could choose to open up the friends list for other services to look through, in the same way it looks through other services' friends/contacts lists. But Facebook wont, because it stops Facebook from being the centre of the internet.

I'm pretty sure that if people really needed to export Facebook contacts to GMail, people would request the feature to Facebook. There is no need for that. I have no desire to do that.

Auzeras said,
Google win

LOL? Google protecting your privacy is a stuggle they can't win. They just envy Facebook, that's all about it. I wish Google dies with all their Buzz privacy fails.