back to article Google alerts users to Facebook contacts 'trap'

Google is now telling anyone stupid enough to import Gmail contacts into Facebook to reconsider such a foolish move because it’s a “trap”. The two companies have been angrily shaking handbags at each other over the past few days in a public protest over who has the best data mine on the interwebs. Just yesterday, a Facebook …


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  1. ttuk



    I think google and facebook should meet step outside to the carpark and sort this out like real men..

    I like google, and I like facebook, but which is better?

    There's only one way to find out....

    1. Pandy06269

      Harry Hill


  2. Chris Hatfield
    Thumb Up

    Many developers leaving Google & joining Facebook

    I anticipate lots more fierce competition in future. Facebook are a bigger threat to Google than Bing.

    It was wise of Google to use phrasing like that. Most people will now at least read the first few sentences. But remember that most people are stupid (ignorant/don't care) so they may just ignore the warning anyway.

    ps - can we please have a FAILbook icon? :D

    1. Tigra 07

      RE: Chris Hatfield

      I see Facebook's biggest threat as itself.

      Hoarding that amount of data and not deleting it when asked to is surely illegal under European laws and Facebook will eventually lose some of it like the banks have time and time again.

      When that happens, people might actually wake up and realise they need to change their identity.

      Google was right on that and they're right people should be warned that anything they stick on Facebook stays there, whether they like it or not.

  3. Aaron Em

    Google: "Don't fall into their trap!"

    "...our trap is *much* better."

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Still can't get excited about this little spat. Nor, I imagine, can the majority of Facebook and Gmail users.

  5. LinkOfHyrule


    hehe, that Google message sounds friggin' desperate if you ask me!

    "Oh please don't leave me! I'm better than her! You'll regret it! She'll never give you what we had together!"

    Flavour of the month (or flavour of the five to ten year period that huge US tech companies dominate) changes you know, Google! You'll be an oversized embarrassment to yourself just like Microsoft is now, one day too!

  6. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Best way to solve disputes...

    Facebook and Google need to hire a super-model each, dress them up in bikinis and then it is just a matter of deciding whether to use Jell-o in an inflatable pool or a mud pit.

    Let's be civilized about this. No hair pulling for more than 5 seconds without a ref stepping in.

    No Foxy Boxing though. Lets not be barbarians.

    1. David 105
      Paris Hilton

      It's a hard job but someone's got to do it

      "No hair pulling for more than 5 seconds without a ref stepping in"

      I volunteer to be that ref, if only to ensure a fair decision about who is the most evil data hoarding tech company on the planet. No. Other. Reasons.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh yeah, baby.

    You gotta admit, Google have got just that little bit more class. :-)

  8. James 47
    Thumb Down


    When the Google Finance discussion boards were alive (and full of spam) anything you posted displayed your name. If you were unlucky enough to use your real name you soon found out that you couldn't change this

  9. Kiwi1971

    Is this even true?

    I am able to easily able to extract all the contact data from my Facebook "Friends"

    For example i can import my Facebook contacts and all their provided info [e-dresses, phone numbers etc] into my Yahoo Mail contacts list. From Yahoo i can then export this contact info to an excel .csv file that can be imported into pretty much any email service including Google.

    I am not sure what Google mean by "locking it up" unless they just mean that Facebook doesn't have a specific built in feature for exporting directly from Facebook. in which case, so what it is still possible to get it.

    Just seems like petty bickering on Google's part. Sounds like they are scared of FB taking the next step an providing an all in one social network and general email solution.

    Don't worry Google, I am not giving up my Gmail address


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't have a Yahoo Mail account

      So how do I export my Facebook contacts?

      (Facebook has an agreement with Yahoo to let yo migrate contacts to Yahoo. That facility isn't available to everyone else)

    2. Tzael

      Re: Is this even true?

      You are right, using the Facebook platform and available APIs it is possible to create third party services that integrate directly with Facebook. My Windows Phone 7 device for example backs up all my contacts from Facebook, including any email addresses and phone numbers they have shared on their profile. Yahoo have developed their own integration as you rightly point out. Nothing stopping other developers from doing the same. Windows Live is also capable of sharing contacts between itself and Facebook if the user chooses to do so.

      Using Outlook, my Windows Phone 7 device, or a combination of both I have no problem sharing my contacts across multiple services. From what I can see it's only a matter of time until the majority of services such as MySpace, GMail, whatever, have had the changes made to them to allow Facebook integration.

  10. Nextweek

    Users don't care

    Looking at the history of personal liberties, the majority of people don't care until its too late.

    Something I thought I would never end up copying, but for irony:

    I welcome our new Facebook overlords.

  11. petur

    RE: our trap is better

    Excuse me? All the data you have in Google can be easily exported in many different formats. They don't offer just one way to get *your* data back out, but went the extra mile to offer you multiple ways so you can easily import in your app xyz which only supports format zyx.

    The article is about Facebook keeping all the info to itself, you can input loads of stuff, and then it sits there forever, making sure no competition will ever come around (who is going to enter all that stuff into a competing site, huh?)

  12. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Paper trap

    I hate how when I print a web page on paper, it doesn't import back into the computer properly.

  13. Daniel B.

    Message too wordy

    They would get a better effect if they put Admiral Ackbar in that warning page.


  14. tom 24

    Facebook is Just Like That, though...

    Facebook is the same way with everything. You can import RSS feeds from your blog into facebook, but there's no nice way to put your facebook stuff onto your blog. It takes about a billion clicks to go from an imported blog entry on facebook to actually get to the link to the original entry, too.

    Facebook *really* doesn't like you leaving facebook.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Completely Agree

      I run a site which has a facebook fan page, all my sites posts are automatically published to Facebook and sometimes the facebook groups generate more comments than the site. So I used some available plugins for WordPres that will allow cross integration of comments, and followed quite lengthy instructions on creating the Facebook API for my site.

      After a couple of hours and then implementing the API, the first thing I discovered was that Facebook automatically adds a tracker/beacon/bug to the API, so anyone visiting my site would have their browser info automatically sent to Facebook, I then did further research into their beacon and discovered that anyone logged into facebook, if they browsed my site all that information (page views, browser type, OS, etc.) would automatically be sent back to Facebook and added to the profile of the user (only viewable to the facebook admins).

      Needless to say I removed the API as I felt it was sleekit and an abuse to the privacy of my site visitors.

  15. heyrick Silver badge

    Guys, please.

    Schmidt and Zuckerman in a boat, out at sea, with a brick and a piece of rope. Alone. Private. No friggin' "reality" cameras.

    He who rows back takes the crown.

    End of.

    1. BongoJoe

      Let's make it...

      ...five miles out to sea.

      Perhaps then neither will return.

  16. Renato
    Thumb Up

    Interesting wording.

    Google is very funny. I don't know why "I recognize that I won’t be able to export it back out" remembers me of that old joke about e-mail attachments being sent erroneously and the receiver being requested to send them back. Still laughing.

    Next joke, please!

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google "strongly disagree with this data protectionism"

    That doesn't surprise me, given their predilection for grabbing data anywhere they can find it. Tough. Now that they've made such a big deal out of it it will be clear that Facebook users have made an informed choice and rejected G. I don't see anything wrong with that.

  18. Sam Therapy

    This sounds like a...

    Kettle/Pot shade differential comparison scenario.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    I didn't realise I had to choose...

    Between the two data giants, oh but which one to choose?

    Come on, it's not really about choosing to leave one over another, if it were the "I love your data" Google provides infinitely more useful services to everyone than the creepy "I want to get to know you and all your friends" Facebook. The two giants aren't comparable other than touting ads with their services and wanting to get their grubby mits on your personal data and behavioural patterns.

    However, despite what Google says, it appears to be difficult but not impossible to extract your data from Facebook. It certainly isn't made easier by providing it's own api conventions over well established standardised ones.

    I've wanted to leave Facebook for a while now truth be told, but I've got hundreds of photos to extract from it first. You can't really argue that Google provides a much more transparent facility for data export than Facebook.

    As for data retention and data lifespan, well I wouldn't like to imagine how long both giants have access to my data after I "delete" it, that is add a date to the deleted column in their database so they know to hide it. I would feel more assured if both were regularly audited and reports were made public.

  20. darksentinel


    Or nachos? Or M&M's for this battle of the titans

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