Last week Google changed their Contacts API terms of service to block Facebook from importing a user’s emails. Rather than obeying the terms, Facebook has come up with a hack around Google’s existing system, as first published by Techcrunch.
While Facebook doesn’t explicitly support Google contact imports (Google is not one of the services listed on their “Find Your Friends” page, you can enter your gmail address under “Other Email Service” and you will be sent to the following page:
This is a page that Google previously created to enable users to download all their data for their own use. Facebook has essentially hot-linked directly to the download page and then prompts users to upload the contacts. While this will probably result in a huge decrease in the number of GMail contact imports, it’s much more of a statement by Facebook which essentially suggests they’ll work around any system Google creates. Additionally, they’ll welcome any user to lock in their data within Facebook!
It’s a statement by Facebook against data portabilityand in support of developing creative workarounds to digest large amounts of user data. Whether or not Google will block this workaround we aren’t sure, although it would definitely be expected if Google is going to set a precedent over their new data portability terms.
A Google spokesperson gave us the following statement: “We’re disappointed that Facebook didn’t invest their time in making it possible for their users to get their contacts out of Facebook. As passionate believers that people should be able to control the data they create, we will continue to allow our users to export their Google contacts.”