Google targets Facebook Contact info

Google just launched an enormous volley in the war of the data kings. Facebook and Google have been gearing up for war for a long time now, and Facebook’s alliance with Microsoft and Bing was practically an act of war. Now, Google is fighting back, albeit subtly. They changed their terms of service ever so slightly, but in a way that hurts Facebook in a big way.

According to TechCrunch, the ToS now requires reciprocity for anyone using the Google Contacts API to grab contact information from Google users. This means that whenever Facebook uses a Google API call to get contact data from a Google account, which is exactly what happens when new users are asked if they want to import their contact data from Google, Facebook will be required to give the user’s Facebook contact information back to Google. Facebook has never given their contact information out, and it’s highly unlikely that they will all of a sudden change this practice. It also affects the entire Google portion of their vaunted Open Graph, restricting a lot of information from Facebook’s data mining operation.

The only other option for Facebook at this point is to take away the Google importing functionality and hope for the best. Somehow, though, the idea of the biggest social network in the world backing off so easily doesn’t seem likely. It will be interesting to see what happens if they lawyer up and argue the legality of the new  reciprocity clause.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson highlighted that this isn’t a greedy push for data.

It’s important that when we automate the transfer of contacts to another service, users have some certainty that the new service meets a baseline standard of data portability. We hope that reciprocity will be an important step towards creating a world of true data liberation–and that this move will encourage other websites to allow users to automate the export of their contacts as well.

It sounds less like a greedy grab for data, and more like an attempt to enforce an open data portability standard on the web, but neither one will sit well with many companies using the Contacts API. Facebook would rather have control over potentially sensitive information, and release it to select contractual partners, than start adopting Google’s open data portability standard. Google is sacrificing a level of openness to enforce open standards on other companies, but this is first and foremost a move on Facebook, and you can bet Facebook won’t take it lightly.

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So Google's long standing policy of "it's your data, take it with you" is now supplanted by "you can take it with you, but we want something in return". Funny how when Google feels threateneed "don't be evil" goes out the window.

I very much dislike the idea of Google's "world of true data liberation." It's my data, and they have no business "liberating" it. I've cut myself off from all Google services until they get over themselves.

JonathanMarston said,
I very much dislike the idea of Google's "world of true data liberation." It's my data, and they have no business "liberating" it. I've cut myself off from all Google services until they get over themselves.

I'm hard pressed to think of a Google service I would even want to use, regardless of their policies.

JonathanMarston said,
I very much dislike the idea of Google's "world of true data liberation." It's my data, and they have no business "liberating" it. I've cut myself off from all Google services until they get over themselves.

If you're any advocate for privacy, you probably shouldn't be using Facebook either.

Of course, I couldn't care less about people knowing I was at a Starbucks off Fairmont, in Houston, TX 77034. In fact, if you really care about my interests and the other lame ass crap I do, then I guess I should be flattered.

The_DINGUS said,
I'm hard pressed to think of a Google service I would even want to use, regardless of their policies.
Yeah man, Google search sucks, never returns the correct results. Only complete idiots use it.

dead.cell said,

Of course, I couldn't care less about people knowing I was at a Starbucks off Fairmont, in Houston, TX 77034.

Lame comment, but nice to see a Houstonian on this blog.

Luis Mazza said,
Screw Facebook and social blerghworks.

I would agree. Idiots need something to waste their life with though, let them have pathetic Facebook.

The_DINGUS said,
I would agree. Idiots need something to waste their life with though, let them have pathetic Facebook.
So you're saying everyone who uses Facebook is an idiot? Sounds like someone doesn't understand it's purpose. Do you have friends?

hotdog963al said,
So you're saying everyone who uses Facebook is an idiot? Sounds like someone doesn't understand it's purpose. Do you have friends?

I do have friends! Actually a lot of them! But in my case, they're real.

dead.cell said,

Now you're just blatantly trolling.

Trolling for telling a half truth? Trolling for not accepting useless "look at me on the internetz, I'm social" ? I don't think so.

Luis Mazza said,

I do have friends! Actually a lot of them! But in my case, they're real.

Same here, we don't waste time with lame Facebook. Most of the idiots who use it literally do not understand the concept of friendship unless you are connected via Facebook.

Luis Mazza said,
Trolling for telling a half truth? Trolling for not accepting useless "look at me on the internetz, I'm social" ? I don't think so.

Purposely antagonizing the people here who obviously make use of Facebook as well. Maybe your implications pertained to some people, but certainly not all. That my friend would be a generalization determined by befriending idiots.

Personally, I don't see what's wrong with wanting to keep in contact with the people you know. Phone numbers and email addresses can always change throughout, and it becomes a hassle trying to keep up with the changes, especially when you're trying to figure out who's the jackass with "crimsonmagnet26@yahoo.com" as their email address...

dead.cell said,

Purposely antagonizing the people here who obviously make use of Facebook as well. Maybe your implications pertained to some people, but certainly not all. That my friend would be a generalization determined by befriending idiots.
Personally, I don't see what's wrong with wanting to keep in contact with the people you know. Phone numbers and email addresses can always change throughout, and it becomes a hassle trying to keep up with the changes, especially when you're trying to figure out who's the jackass with "crimsonmagnet26@yahoo.com" as their email address...


Not very interesting, unless you're too lazy to call or e-mail your friends asking them to go out or how's life. Using a catalog of faces showing everything you asked for or what you really didn't ask for is not nice. If it is for you, it is also for another million of cataloged standardized faces. Good luck, have fun!

Luis Mazza said,
I do have friends! Actually a lot of them! But in my case, they're real.
Same here, except I can also communicate with my real life friends (including ones that live far away) over the internet. Facebook allows me to share information, media, links etc with my *real life friends*. Are you sure you understand what Facebook is for?

hotdog963al said,
Same here, except I can also communicate with my real life friends (including ones that live far away) over the internet. Facebook allows me to share information, media, links etc with my *real life friends*. Are you sure you understand what Facebook is for?

Yes, it is mainly for gossiping and turning life into a charmless tech nonsense with no real life basis in 90% of the situations.

hotdog963al said,
Same here, except I can also communicate with my real life friends (including ones that live far away) over the internet. Facebook allows me to share information, media, links etc with my *real life friends*. Are you sure you understand what Facebook is for?

Yes, it is mainly for gossiping and turning life into a charmless tech nonsense with no real life basis in 90% of the situations.

Luis Mazza said,
Yes, it is mainly for gossiping and turning life into a charmless tech nonsense with no real life basis in 90% of the situations.
Proof you don't understand what Facebook is for.
I'm guessing you are middle aged?

thornz0 said,
So they have this war going on...and all of us are the ammunition? Ouch.

Yeah, you have google who pretends they're not a marketing company with a worse off privacy policy fighting over personal data against a company that has no problems admitting its a marketing company and actively works to establish a better privacy policy and people find more faults with facebook? i dun get it and the only people that suffer are us

blahism said,

Yeah, you have google who pretends they're not a marketing company with a worse off privacy policy fighting over personal data against a company that has no problems admitting its a marketing company and actively works to establish a better privacy policy and people find more faults with facebook? i dun get it and the only people that suffer are us

Google has done me write over the years, and provided me with a lot of free tools that have been to great personal benefit, including my work place. That doesn't justify willy nilly treatment of my personal info, but don't try and and make Facebook look like they're just out there doing their thing. Both sides need to learn some respect right now, and that's all there is to it.

thornz0 said,

Google has done me write over the years, and provided me with a lot of free tools that have been to great personal benefit, including my work place. That doesn't justify willy nilly treatment of my personal info, but don't try and and make Facebook look like they're just out there doing their thing. Both sides need to learn some respect right now, and that's all there is to it.

no one knows what google does with your personal info or how it is shared.. at least with facebook, facebook only knows as much as you willingly share with them. If you want it private, don't put it on facebook but it really isn't that hard to make sure its locked down either.

Between data known about you from google.com/*.* to google toolbar, to google browser, to google adsense publishers to google analytics tracking you it makes what you willingly share on facebook pale in comparison and its the reason google tools are "free" (at what cost, we will never know..)

I support Google's move on this & hope they manage to come up on top. Facebook has had so many privacy issues, that it's about time someone put them in check.

The Visitors said,
I support Google's move on this & hope they manage to come up on top. Facebook has had so many privacy issues, that it's about time someone put them in check.

What? Facebook has fewer privacy concerns than Google and if people can't figure out facebook security options they certainly won't understand this dick of a move.

blahism said,

What? Facebook has fewer privacy concerns than Google and if people can't figure out facebook security options they certainly won't understand this dick of a move.

Facebook has a history of changing their settings. So at one time your private & then you're not. Also their apps release a lot of information as well.

I dont like this at all. I dont have any contact info listed on Facebook anyway but if I did I wouldnt want Google logging it. No thanks.

este said,
I dont like this at all. I dont have any contact info listed on Facebook anyway but if I did I wouldnt want Google logging it. No thanks.

They don't want your contact info. They want your list of friends and their contact info.

jafoman said,

They don't want your contact info. They want your list of friends and their contact info.

Even so, I am friends of friends that they want contact info from. So still FTL =[

We should really be asking what google wants with someone's Facebook or any other service's contact list. If a user is importing their contacts to facebook, why is the user's facebook contact list required to go to google itself, completely beyond the users control?

efjay said,
We should really be asking what google wants with someone's Facebook or any other service's contact list. If a user is importing their contacts to facebook, why is the user's facebook contact list required to go to google itself, completely beyond the users control?

+1 F*ck off Google

Is the user being asked what data they would like to share with Google? I never "hookup" to anything when on FB. I hate this data mining crap.

hagjohn said,
Is the user being asked what data they would like to share with Google? I never "hookup" to anything when on FB. I hate this data mining crap.

I am the same way. If a site has the option to login with Facebook, I never do it!

thatguyandrew1992 said,

I am the same way. If a site has the option to login with Facebook, I never do it!

Same, mostly because I hate the "YOU MADE A COMMENT, DO YOU WANT TO TELL ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT THIS AWESOEM COMMENT U MADE?!"

Yeah, no thanks...

Fritzly said,
FB is the plague of the XXI Century.
I also agree, I don't have an account with facebook but I think they are more worse than google in the sense that you see Facebook in every major website and they put facebook in your face and sometime they even force you to use it. **** you facebook.

Quattrone said,
I also agree, I don't have an account with facebook but I think they are more worse than google in the sense that you see Facebook in every major website and they put facebook in your face and sometime they even force you to use it. **** you facebook.

Uhhhhm, when have Facebook ever forced you to use their service? 'Never' is the correct answer.

Quattrone said,
I also agree, I don't have an account with facebook but I think they are more worse than google in the sense that you see Facebook in every major website and they put facebook in your face and sometime they even force you to use it. **** you facebook.

Create a fake facebook account

Quattrone said,
I also agree, I don't have an account with facebook but I think they are more worse than google in the sense that you see Facebook in every major website and they put facebook in your face and sometime they even force you to use it. **** you facebook.

lol... I love it when people who don't use Facebook think it's this big evil empire. Those that actually use it and understand it (which only about 10% of the media seems to), you realize they're very big on privacy and, quiet honestly, I've not seen another service -- EVER -- that allowed for such granular control of EVERY piece of the service. They have more setting and security options than anyone and I think it's great. Moreover, you can chose WHO you want to see WHAT data. Have someone that's stalking you? Make it so they can't see anything about you. "Fearful" of your work finding out you just went somewhere? Put your coworkers in a friend list then turn off settings just for them. Every one of my friends is in a group... that way it's easy to turn off chat to certain people. It's easy. Very easy.

Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it. Of course, if you're doing something illegal, then you're not safe just stepping one foot out of your house or talking on the phone or doing anything. If you're doing something illegal, you will be found out one day, not having a Facebook sure won't protect you from that.

Justin- said,

lol... I love it when people who don't use Facebook think it's this big evil empire. Those that actually use it and understand it (which only about 10% of the media seems to), you realize they're very big on privacy and, quiet honestly, I've not seen another service -- EVER -- that allowed for such granular control of EVERY piece of the service. They have more setting and security options than anyone and I think it's great. Moreover, you can chose WHO you want to see WHAT data. Have someone that's stalking you? Make it so they can't see anything about you. "Fearful" of your work finding out you just went somewhere? Put your coworkers in a friend list then turn off settings just for them. Every one of my friends is in a group... that way it's easy to turn off chat to certain people. It's easy. Very easy.

Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it. Of course, if you're doing something illegal, then you're not safe just stepping one foot out of your house or talking on the phone or doing anything. If you're doing something illegal, you will be found out one day, not having a Facebook sure won't protect you from that.

+1

The_DINGUS said,

100% truth. You have to be a total moron to have an account on Facebook.

Moron for been on Facebook? People who say that and hate facebook for no valid reason and who say that without ever using it are even bigger morons!

Justin- said,

lol... I love it when people who don't use Facebook think it's this big evil empire. Those that actually use it and understand it (which only about 10% of the media seems to), you realize they're very big on privacy and, quiet honestly, I've not seen another service -- EVER -- that allowed for such granular control of EVERY piece of the service. They have more setting and security options than anyone and I think it's great. Moreover, you can chose WHO you want to see WHAT data. Have someone that's stalking you? Make it so they can't see anything about you. "Fearful" of your work finding out you just went somewhere? Put your coworkers in a friend list then turn off settings just for them. Every one of my friends is in a group... that way it's easy to turn off chat to certain people. It's easy. Very easy.

Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it. Of course, if you're doing something illegal, then you're not safe just stepping one foot out of your house or talking on the phone or doing anything. If you're doing something illegal, you will be found out one day, not having a Facebook sure won't protect you from that.

+1

Justin- said,

lol... I love it when people who don't use Facebook think it's this big evil empire. Those that actually use it and understand it (which only about 10% of the media seems to), you realize they're very big on privacy and, quiet honestly, I've not seen another service -- EVER -- that allowed for such granular control of EVERY piece of the service. They have more setting and security options than anyone and I think it's great. Moreover, you can chose WHO you want to see WHAT data. Have someone that's stalking you? Make it so they can't see anything about you. "Fearful" of your work finding out you just went somewhere? Put your coworkers in a friend list then turn off settings just for them. Every one of my friends is in a group... that way it's easy to turn off chat to certain people. It's easy. Very easy.

Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it. Of course, if you're doing something illegal, then you're not safe just stepping one foot out of your house or talking on the phone or doing anything. If you're doing something illegal, you will be found out one day, not having a Facebook sure won't protect you from that.

+9000

"Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it."

you forgot one more reason: don't want or need to use it.

just because someone doesn't have a facebook account you conclude that they are doing something illegal. that's just mean. not everybody is sold to baring their naked souls in the internet because they are well aware that what you put in the internet stays there forever. also, not everybody is hungry for 2000+ friends they don't even know personally. there are still people out there who believe in actual contact with other people as opposed to virtual.

what i find distressing about avid facebook users is when they find out i dont have a facebook account, they either roll their eyes and say "everybody has facebook" or take a step back and asks "are you in some sort of trouble?". i only say to them " i dont have facebook because i dont want or need to, respect that". it usually shuts them up.

The_DINGUS said,

100% truth. You have to be a total moron to have an account on Facebook.


People like you seem to be butthurt 24/7 for no reason at all. Get real.

3rd impact said,
"Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it."

you forgot one more reason: don't want or need to use it.

just because someone doesn't have a facebook account you conclude that they are doing something illegal. that's just mean. not everybody is sold to baring their naked souls in the internet because they are well aware that what you put in the internet stays there forever. also, not everybody is hungry for 2000+ friends they don't even know personally. there are still people out there who believe in actual contact with other people as opposed to virtual.

what i find distressing about avid facebook users is when they find out i dont have a facebook account, they either roll their eyes and say "everybody has facebook" or take a step back and asks "are you in some sort of trouble?". i only say to them " i dont have facebook because i dont want or need to, respect that". it usually shuts them up.


Just because you use Facebook, doesn't mean you expose your entire private life there...

Justin- said,

lol... I love it when people who don't use Facebook think it's this big evil empire. Those that actually use it and understand it (which only about 10% of the media seems to), you realize they're very big on privacy and, quiet honestly, I've not seen another service -- EVER -- that allowed for such granular control of EVERY piece of the service. They have more setting and security options than anyone and I think it's great. Moreover, you can chose WHO you want to see WHAT data. Have someone that's stalking you? Make it so they can't see anything about you. "Fearful" of your work finding out you just went somewhere? Put your coworkers in a friend list then turn off settings just for them. Every one of my friends is in a group... that way it's easy to turn off chat to certain people. It's easy. Very easy.

Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it. Of course, if you're doing something illegal, then you're not safe just stepping one foot out of your house or talking on the phone or doing anything. If you're doing something illegal, you will be found out one day, not having a Facebook sure won't protect you from that.

Fully agree ! i use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family thats all over the world

vette said,

People like you seem to be butthurt 24/7 for no reason at all. Get real.


^^^^^^^^

yep they gottan be bleeding from the brownhole

Fritzly said,
FB is the plague of the XXI Century.

Funny I think Google is more Evil than facebook. I don't recall Facebook killing multiple industries. At least they came up with something new that the world had never seen before.

redavenger said,

Funny I think Google is more Evil than facebook. I don't recall Facebook killing multiple industries. At least they came up with something new that the world had never seen before.

Facebook never seen before?
what is facebook different than a big forum and everyone talking about what they are doing?

Justin- said,

lol... I love it when people who don't use Facebook think it's this big evil empire. Those that actually use it and understand it (which only about 10% of the media seems to), you realize they're very big on privacy and, quiet honestly, I've not seen another service -- EVER -- that allowed for such granular control of EVERY piece of the service. They have more setting and security options than anyone and I think it's great. Moreover, you can chose WHO you want to see WHAT data. Have someone that's stalking you? Make it so they can't see anything about you. "Fearful" of your work finding out you just went somewhere? Put your coworkers in a friend list then turn off settings just for them. Every one of my friends is in a group... that way it's easy to turn off chat to certain people. It's easy. Very easy.

Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it. Of course, if you're doing something illegal, then you're not safe just stepping one foot out of your house or talking on the phone or doing anything. If you're doing something illegal, you will be found out one day, not having a Facebook sure won't protect you from that.

+1100 , facebook cares privacy ..
but it is not fair that you will not export user data to some other party . I never saw any website from where we can import our facebook friends .

Well stated. I agree 100%. Super granular control over your data. Probably 90% of people (or more) don't bother with changing any privacy settings or routinely clean up their applications.

Justin- said,

lol... I love it when people who don't use Facebook think it's this big evil empire. Those that actually use it and understand it (which only about 10% of the media seems to), you realize they're very big on privacy and, quiet honestly, I've not seen another service -- EVER -- that allowed for such granular control of EVERY piece of the service. They have more setting and security options than anyone and I think it's great. Moreover, you can chose WHO you want to see WHAT data. Have someone that's stalking you? Make it so they can't see anything about you. "Fearful" of your work finding out you just went somewhere? Put your coworkers in a friend list then turn off settings just for them. Every one of my friends is in a group... that way it's easy to turn off chat to certain people. It's easy. Very easy.

Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it. Of course, if you're doing something illegal, then you're not safe just stepping one foot out of your house or talking on the phone or doing anything. If you're doing something illegal, you will be found out one day, not having a Facebook sure won't protect you from that.

I am sorry to wake you up but.......:

http://espresso.repubblica.it/dettaglio/%3Cdiv%3Ela-polizia-ci-spia-su-facebook%3Cdiv%3E/2137277

While I would suggest to translate it and red the entire article I will quickly summarize it:

Facebook has special agreements with "law enforcement" agencies that give the latter special access to all the information stored in the social network servers.

Fritzly said,
FB is the plague of the XXI Century.
Umm did you read the article? In this case Google is being a ****ing idiot. Who gave Google the right to just take contacts from your Facebook account? Unless you explicitly agree to sync both your Facebook and Google account contacts, this is just simply a greedy attempt to grab more information. **** Google. My ass is less evil than Google.

Fritzly said,

I am sorry to wake you up but.......:

http://espresso.repubblica.it/dettaglio/%3Cdiv%3Ela-polizia-ci-spia-su-facebook%3Cdiv%3E/2137277

While I would suggest to translate it and red the entire article I will quickly summarize it:

Facebook has special agreements with "law enforcement" agencies that give the latter special access to all the information stored in the social network servers.

I can ask you the same thing: did you just wake up? All websites are by law supposed to allow law enforcement to access their servers. They will be forced to do it anyway because it's for "law enforcement". It's a whole different topic to talk about how the people enforcing the law may misuse the information they find.

If you don't want law enforcement to find anything on Facebook/Google servers, then just don't put it there.

This topic is about Google taking contact information of friends from Facebook without explicit permission and storing it on their servers without explicit permission from you and your friends.

Justin- said,

lol... I love it when people who don't use Facebook think it's this big evil empire. Those that actually use it and understand it (which only about 10% of the media seems to), you realize they're very big on privacy and, quiet honestly, I've not seen another service -- EVER -- that allowed for such granular control of EVERY piece of the service. They have more setting and security options than anyone and I think it's great. Moreover, you can chose WHO you want to see WHAT data. Have someone that's stalking you? Make it so they can't see anything about you. "Fearful" of your work finding out you just went somewhere? Put your coworkers in a friend list then turn off settings just for them. Every one of my friends is in a group... that way it's easy to turn off chat to certain people. It's easy. Very easy.

Those who are really "scared" about Facebook either haven't used it or don't know HOW to use it. Of course, if you're doing something illegal, then you're not safe just stepping one foot out of your house or talking on the phone or doing anything. If you're doing something illegal, you will be found out one day, not having a Facebook sure won't protect you from that.

+1 Well said...

Most people have no clue how to use the security features and then bitch that some info is seen by everyone when in fact you can set it to hide as much or as little as you personally like. I love sharing my photos....but certain pic's don't need to be seen by the family and vice versa certain family pics don't need to be seen by the friends so I just select different groups as I'm posting.

MOST People who bitch about Facebook have no idea what they are talking about.....they made a account couldn't figure it out and logged off and blame Facebook instead of their own crappy computer skills!

I totally think Google is right in this case....if facebook want access it should go both ways.

este said,
Lame comment anyway

I thought the whole "first!!1!!!!111!1" stuff was against the rules, did something change?