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Saturday, November 13, 2010 7:05:50 PM
Why you're a pawn in Facebook vs. Google
Hold on a second. Are you super sure you want to import your contact information for your friends into a service that wont let you get it out?
Here'e the not-so-fine print. You have been directed to this page from a site that doesn't allow you to re-export your data to other services, essentially locking up your contact data about your friends. So once you import you data there, you won't be able to get it out. We think this is an important thing for you to know before you import your data there. Although we strongly disegee with this data protectionism, the choice Is yours. Because, after all. you should have control over your data.
Back to CNET's article:
It should make us nervous when two of America's most important Web companies resort to sniping through the media over which service really has our best interests at heart.
If you enjoy a good catfight in your tech news arena but can't be bothered to figure out what the hell Larry Ellison and Ray Lane are talking about, we present Google vs. Facebook: No, I'm More Trustworthy. Long headed for a collision, Google and Facebook are currently exchanging blows over which company is a better steward of personal information stored on the Web.
This dispute has been simmering for years, but it boiled over last week when Google made a change to a key part of the terms of service, the part governing how Web services that allow their users to import Gmail contacts must treat that data. In short, Google said that anybody who wanted to automatically import Gmail contacts data had to allow the user to export that data just as easily.
Google didn't even really try to hide that Facebook was the clear target of this change. In response, Facebook changed the way Facebook users could import Gmail contacts data by writing a script that allowed those users to automagically download their Gmail contacts as a CSV (comma-separated value) file, and then upload that file into Facebook with the press of another button.
Google then expressed its "disappointment," as if Facebook were an old friend who had made poor choices in life. A Facebook engineer then slammed Google in the comments thread of a Techcrunch post for its previous willingness to block contact export in Orkut (unless you live in Brazil or India you probably never uploaded data to Orkut in the first place, but that's another story) and saying that Facebook has always protected the ability of its users to "own and control" the data stored on the site.
And today, Google added the digital equivalent of a cigarette-pack warning to the Gmail export contacts page, asking Gmail users "are you super sure you want to import your contact information for your friends into a service that won't let you get it out?"
Read more at cnet.com