Apparently Google's hot new social networking venture Google+ is giving sleepless nights to Facebook folks. The latest news from Facebook is neither about an awesome new feature added to the social networking site, nor is it about Project Spartan. In an act that can be called the height of desperation, Facebook blocked a Google Chrome extension developed for exporting Facebook Friends' lists to Google+ over the weekend.
Facebook changed its OAuth (Open Authorization) 2.0 API in such a way that it suddenly removed e-mail addresses from the queries without warning, Owen Mundy, creator of Give Me My Data, was quoted saying by TechCrunch. The Facebook users are now restricted from exporting their friends' email addresses to a new service.
Though the restriction will hinder the smooth transport of contacts, Facebook's move here just looks desperate. Facebook is not the only place where people have contacts, and a user's combined contact base from Gmail, Yahoo Mail, or Hotmail will work fine to get started with Google+. It is highly likely that the e-mail contacts from other sources will overlap with the Facebook contacts, leaving out very few, which can be added manually.
The Chrome extension, Facebook Friend Exporter, was the only easy way to import Facebook friends' list as Google+ supported direct imports of email IDs only from Yahoo and Windows Live. This means, though the easy door is closed, you can still import your Facebook friends' e-mail IDs by first importing them to Yahoo and subsequently to Google+.
Facebook, which has had its issues with privacy infringement, also has a history of open entry and closed exit. In April 2010, at the f8 developer conference, Facebook rolled out an Open Door for importing data collected about their users from any partner site on the Web. Apparently Facebook believes that it is OK to import (read steal) user data freely from other sites through Facebook plug-ins, to track user behavior just like many other ad networks or analytics tool.
It's high time Facebook understood that the data uploaded by the users, including their contacts, belong to the users. And not to the social network they entrusted the data with, for any period of time. If a user chooses to withdraw his personal information out of the site, Facebook can by no means stop him/her by employing restrictions on third-party applications.
As Rohit Khare, an expert in Internet standards, says, Facebook sounds like Hotel California: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
If you want to try the back door friends list import through Yahoo, to Google+, here is what you can do:
Step 1: Click on Google+ Find and Invite which will show up options to add friends from Yahoo contact list and from your Windows Live Hotmail account.
Step 2: Open your Yahoo e-mail account or Windows Live hotmail inbox and export your Facebook contacts to Windows Live Hotmail account.
Step 3: Go to Contacts and click on Manage. Click on Export option.
Step 4: Go to Google+ profile, Find and Invite tab and click on either Yahoo or Windows Live Hotmail icon.
Step 6: Once the authorization is granted, the e-mail addresses of all your Facebook friends will be added to your Google+ account.
The back door has been working fine so far, though latest reports say, some users have complained about the sync being interrupted.
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