Google+, which had generated ‘insane demand’ within a couple of days of its launch, could easily beat the Facebook frenzy of more than 500 million usesr, if it could get access to the information of the long preserved friends in Facebook.
A RIM software engineer, Mohamed Mansour had developed a chrome extension, Facebook Friend Exporter which would help Google overcome the biggest challenge with its new site by extracting the already built contacts from Facebook and shift it to Google+.
Facebook has reportedly tried to break the extension as its term of service states, You will not collect users' content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission.
Google, which encourages open access to information, had a similar issue with Facebook, last year when Google had changed the terms of services for sites using Gmail contact data. Facebook however disagreed to the idea of exporting data two-ways as the Facebook users has not given the permission to their friends to export their information from Facebook.
Currently with the approach of Google+, when Facebook noticed a slew of 17,000 users in the extension, it decided to block it.
Mansour posted a message on the extension page ,
‘Facebook is trying so hard to not allow you to export your friends. They started to remove emails of your friends from your profile by today July 5th 2011. It will no longer work for many people.
New version with a different design is currently deploying. You might have to do exports daily. It uses a different approach, and I will maintain this version. Just bear with me.’
To enable shifting of information from Facebook to the Chrome Extension World, the data is transferred to the Gmail Contacts through cross-site XMLHttp requests.
In the extension world, the Facebook’s tab ID is maintained when the user first clicks on the Export Friends button on Facebook's navigation. Clicking on the button, it sends a request to our extension process to tell it to open the main controller (that controls the steps for exporting your friends) window.
Since Facebook is the hub of most of our social contacts and building up the same outside it without exporting the friend list will not be possible, Monsour says, “Get *your* data contact out of Facebook, whether they want you to or not. You gave them your friends and allowed them to store that data, and you have right to take it back out! Facebook doesn't own my friends. Only available in English Facebook. Any other language will not work.” In Chrome Web Store.
Facebook on the other hand sees no reason why it should allow its rival to have access to its key weapon.
However all of us who are keeping track of the growing competition of the two social networking sites know that Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was marked to be having the largest number of followers in Google+.
The question is, did he get his band of 30,000 followers without exporting his friend list from Facebook?
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