back to article Google snips Facebook's Gmail line

Google has fired the latest salvo in its ongoing war with Facebook over who gets to know who your friends are, updating its terms of service so that Facebook can't access Gmail's Contacts API unless Zuckerberg and company offer a similar API. Mountain View has already started to cut Facebook's access to the Google API, according …


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  1. Mark Dowling

    Good for Google

    My data is my data not Zuckerberg's ... bitch.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Good for Google

      No, your data belongs to the Google Corporation. Resistance is futile.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        That's what scroogle is for. ;-)

    2. Gordon Pryra


      Since when did Facebook or Google have privacy policies?

  2. ShellShockeD

    no title


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I do so enjoy these Google press releases

    that couch Machiavellian acts wrought entirely from self-interest in the language of a gently chiding schoolmistress acting wholly in the best interests of her understandably ill-informed charges

  4. Sean Baggaley 1

    Open Source 2.0...

    ... "Open Data"?

  5. Bob 18

    Whose Lists?

    Lost in all this is the idea that maybe YOU, the USER should decide what to do with YOUR contact list. The way these two companies go about it, you'd think the lists are THEIR property.

    Welcome to digital serfdom!

    1. Oninoshiko

      letters and/or digits.

      From the sound of it, I think google would be fine with that. If you want google to have access to your facebook info, you just tell facebook (I'm guessing some kinda cryptographic key would/could be used). same thing could go the other way.

      It sounds like google is saying "we want our users to have the OPTION of importing facebook data, just like they have the OPTION of exporting to facebook."

      Now, can we please stop tossing up strawmen? Defending google makes me feel dirty.

    2. Neil Greatorex


      Read the T&CS, they really do own the lists.. :-(

    3. L1feless


      If you read what Google has stated in their press release they are quite literally agreeing with you. Your contacts are your property and you should have the ability to extract them from services you use.

  6. roknich

    It was only fecebook, why worry?

    Mark Dowling (early comment) sums it up. The pith of the article above is near the end:

    "a sweeping picture of who knows who on the internet, a so-called "social graph" that spans 500 million people"

    I wonder how long it took for the spoiled brat to figure out what he'd extracted from us.

    I do not participate in fecebook, it is absolutely a power grab, not unlike myspace.

    I recommend - the people's twitter, and diaspora is in the works.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I had high hopes for Diaspora then I saw their early code.

      I know all the arguments for the fact that it was alpha code etc. but it was a bloody security mess. Every single Ruby / Rails developer I know facepalmed so hard they broke their noses.

      The worst thing is the fact that there has been no announcements about how they are going to fix things later on. Their initial fix was rudimentary, they are not using any of the many Authorization gems that exist in the Ruby world and I hang out in their IRC channel and there is sweet FA talk from the developers about security.

      Naive doesn't even begin to describe it.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        "facepalmed so hard they broke their noses"


  7. dave 93

    'Download ALL of my data, and delete ALL copies.' buttons...

    ...should be compulsory and easily accessible in all apps that store any personal data; browsers, mail and chat, or any app, even trivial details like settings and dictionary mods should be able to be reset.

    It would be nice to be able to store, edit and reload these settings if you want to as well.

    No jokes, move along....

    1. Mostor Astrakan

      What about...

      Not putting it up there in the first place, ye stupid buggers?

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. PhilBack
    Thumb Up

    Good move

    I am eager to see the consequences!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Providers - grow up

    The data I have in Google and/or Facebook is MY data, not theirs, despite them acting as though it's theirs. I'm sick of service providers using my mobile phone to conduct their little experiments and pissing matches with each other. We've got Google and Facebook doing this and the users lose out. We've got Nokia auto joining people to their MyNokia service when they power up their new Nokia phone, leaving them to work out how to escape if they ditch the phone (you have to pretend you've forgotten your password and have it SMSd, then create an account on MyNokia which enables you to delete your account on MyNokia).

    We've got Apple trying to get me linking up by pushing Game Center and Ping, and I expect before long there'll be some mandatory involvement with those "for my benefit". Google and Facebook have to do business but should hammer it out behind closed doors, not bat the users around one way then the other. In short I'm sick of it - I just want a phone which does its job and lets me get on with it. If I want to get involved in particular social networks or sharing of my data then I'll make the choice myself. I don't want a "relationship" with Google or my handset provider. I'm 40, not bloody 4.

  11. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Maybe Facebook are right ?

    OK, let's stop ranting, and actually look at this in some sane light.

    In gmail (or whatever e-mail system I use) *I* enter the name & e-mail address of people. So, quite rightly, *I* should be able to extract them again, to save me re-typing.

    In Facebook, however, I don't have to enter anyone's e-mail address (or phone number, etc) That is entered by the "friend". So *I* never had their details. Only the friend has it.

    So, in this case, I think Facebook are correct. They are disallowing me downloading from Facebok information that I didn't provide/own in the first place.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Faecesbook is a US government experiment...

    to see if they can stop people having real friends. When all human relationships are shallow and monitored by the government, they will have absolute control over us. Welcome to 1984!

    1. frank ly

      re. US Gov experiment

      Wow, that's what I call impressive paranoia. (Makes me wonder though.)

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
        Big Brother

        The fact that you are paranoid

        does not mean they are not out to get you!!

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: The fact that you are paranoid

          Just because you are paranoid it doesn't mean they're not after you - but usually they're not, and you just sort of wish they were so you could say you were right.


  13. Anonymous Coward


    So if one of my (real) friends holds an address book with my personal data in it and then happens to join Gmail or Facebook, suddenly my personal data becomes their property and they can use it to target adverts at me?

    At which point did I give my permission for anyone to use my data like that? And don't my friends now need to register under the data protection act and declare that they wish to put my data to such a use by handing to to Google or Facebook?

    I can't help thinking this isn't entirely within the spirit of the law. But then Google and Facebook often give me that feeling.

    1. John Lilburne

      Who the hell ...

      ... signs up for these services with anything other than a one off, specific email address?

      .... checks ... puts address book into facebook ...

      Oh bloody hell practically everyone is an idiot. Now I'm getting friend recommendations from people on USENET 10 years ago. People I had a onesy twosy email exchange with 6 years ago.

  14. JaitcH

    Facebook has what Google wants; shouldn't be a problem given Facebook's 'security'

    It's only a matter of time until Facebook's data is outed again.

    I guess this means My Space is worth little, too?

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Facebook security = Google gets data

      Yes, but Google want the data unencumbered by legal questions.

  15. LDS Silver badge

    There are better ways to store contacts

    That's why I do not store my contacts in Gmail, and don't use Facebook. There are better ways to keep them - safe. The only problem may be some smartphones that can't copy&paste...

  16. rvt

    don't use facebook, don't use gmail

    My God, now I remember again why I hardly use gmail and I don't use Facebook at all.

    These two can fight it out, but please not in my datayard....

  17. Little Poppet

    Google you bitch!

    My data belongs to Facebook, NOT Google [the greater of two evils]...

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    I read the article but all I saw was.... media, blah, blah, media, blah, blah, media, blah, blah, privacy, media, blah, blah, , blah, blah, , blah, blah, , blah, blah.

    May I have my 5 minutes back please?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: I read the article but all I saw was....


  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Corporate squabbling

    Well personally I think it’s just silly corporate squabbling.

    They may own the data but it is your data and they are bound by the Data Protection Act as to what they can do with it. What they allow you to do with that data is key to popularity, hence the Google stance here.

    As for security concerns, it is largely up to you how secure your data is by the way that you use these services. Don’t want your data shared, either don’t put it up there or don’t download the apps that will share it – or actually read the detail on what each app will have access to rather than blindly adding/installing it.

    These services are not inherently insecure – certainly no more than the majority of other online services, they just, by their nature, provide many ways in which you can share your data often unwittingly.

  20. blackworx
    Thumb Down

    Yet more evidence that... these fucks, users are nothing more than a product to be sold/resource to be mined. The only thing any of them are "commited to" is protecting their margin.

    To anyone thinking of responding with anything along the lines of: "why are you surprised?", "What do you expect?", or "the solution's simple - just don't use them": well done you for being so clever and deliberately missing the point. Have a cookie.

    1. Edagan


      I wonder why angry Internet forum posters can't accept the possibility that the people who so annoy them might not actually be making a conscious effort to do so?

      I'm not sure why so many people have the idea that these firms have an obligation to provide a free service for the public's convenience. I assume that is the belief, since we seem happy to use these services while we know we're not directly paying for them. So if we're not paying a subscription, and we know the company isn't working pro bono, isn't it logical to assume they see some sort of benefit?

      So surely the only real question we need to ask ourselves is: since our exploitation of a free service involves the free service trying to exploit us back, is the risk to the data we may choose to submit worth it?

      But it seems if I ask that, I've "deliberately missed the point". Though I can't see another point that isn't built on false assumptions about the motives of large corporations.

      1. blackworx


        Ok I'll bite.

        It's not a false assumption about the motives of large corporations; it's an observation about the obfuscation and diversionary language they use to try and hoodwink people into believing they do what they do for, or at the very least to, the benefit of their users, which in turn affects those users' ability to make an informed choice. Fair enough, that assumes a certain level of cluelessness on the part of the users, which sadly isn't an unfair assumption to make. Certainly not on the planet I come from.

    2. The Other Steve

      Well, what DO you expect ?

      Really, what do you expect ? That big corps will give you shit for free just because you're so fucking awesome ?

      And where's my cookie ?

  21. noboard


    I think anyone using these api's should be banned from the internet entirely. If you're stupid enough to put account details; including a password, into a 3rd party site, you really shouldn't be allowed on the internet full stop.

  22. William 6

    google contacts

    fact is you need the email address & name of your contacts in gamil, so that you can whitelist those addresses (quite why google does not have bettrer spam protection is perhaps a different story).

    I quit facebook, one of the reasons was that I could not get all the contact data my friends were sharing with me in any sort of reasonalbe way.

    Now ms office has this intergration with social networks to get contact details (I read this on theregister some months back) - I am guessing the author forgot this avenue of contact data movement and perhaps it is a financial deal with MS or morelikely just a screen scrape.

    It is utterly rediculous that data you can view and copy and paste and has been explicitly (I think we can assume this with a very high degree of certainty) been shared with you by your friends, yet you cannot populate or update your off/on line contacts system with that data. This is what computers are for and it is a trivial feature, nay essentail feature for what is in effect a glorified contact database (facebook).

    The author goes to great pains to paint the picture of monstrous companies with nefarious thoughts in mind when it comes to users data, when in fact the issue is really with usability of systems and the lockin of users for the gain of advertising dollars and related activities (and no I dont mean that often touted bs of facebook/google selling your date to advertisers - bar the exception recently of fb identity code leakage/exploitation)

  23. Danny 14


    good job I have neither gmail or facebook accounts then. Oh an a very long muddy driveway to the farm that google cars cant get down.

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