Only a couple years after users were banned for trying to import their Facebook contacts into other services, Yahoo! has launched a new service which enables you to import all of your Facebook contacts’ email addresses. Interestingly enough, this has nothing to do with applications that were granted access to users’ emails as Facebook recently enabled. While Yahoo! has announced that the service is live, we can’t currently access it.
We’ve reached out to Facebook for clarification on what service Yahoo! is using to import contacts. If this project was launched with support from Facebook, this could be part of a broader strategy of openness on Facebook’s part. However, does this mean that we could soon see services like Twitter and Google Buzz granted access to the same type of service?
We doubt it. Contact imports is the critical viral component from most online products and I seriously doubt Facebook wants to grant competitors’ access to this type of functionality. While contact importing is only one feature within Yahoo!, the company previously announced a broad strategy in December of the company wide implementation of Facebook Connect.
This new contact importer doesn’t appear to have the standard Facebook Connect implementation though which makes me wonder about the technical implementation of this service. We’ll be sure to update this post once we hear more information from Facebook.