After Facebook successfully blocked a Chrome extension from importing your Facebook contacts into Google+, many were ready to give up on the idea of Facebook giving you the freedom to easily take your information elsewhere. There is one option, in the form of Yahoo! contacts. You can create a new Yahoo! account, import your contacts from Facebook, and then export those to a CSV file. Google+ can then accept that file as a bunch of contacts. It’s not pretty, and it definitely won’t sit well with users who aren’t tech-savvy.
Open-Xchange, a productivity company that specializes in open-source products for email and collaboration efficiency, has released a product that may make this process a lot easier. According to Cnet, CEO Rafael Laguna is not a fan of Facebook’s aversion to what Google calls Data Liberation.
"The cloud needs to be open--just as source code and data protocols needed to be open to create the Internet. With more and more data moving into and being created inside the cloud, this data needs to be owned by the creators, not the services."
Google has been pushing the idea of “freedom to escape” for a while now, and a team at Google, the Data Liberation Front, has been tasked to make sure that people can export all their data from Google’s services wherever and whenever possible.
Open-Xchange released a tool today called Social OX, a way to manage all your contact information from various social networks in one central address book. Laguna explains,
"We use the APIs from the social and business networks to create address books for each of them. Then we enhance this data with the contacts we can harvest from your e-mail accounts made available to your Open-Xchange user. This data from all your networks and address books and all contacts from your emails is then merged into your 'magic' address book...Import to your liking, in Apple iCal, Gmail/G+, Facebook, Outlook, whatever you like."
Facebook hasn’t responded to this attempt at “liberation”, but if all Social OX is doing is using sanctioned API calls to gather data, it doesn’t seem like there would be much Facebook could do about it.