Cloud Computing: Google vs. Facebook: Bitterness Escalates in Long-Standing Feud
Google Nov. 4 started down a slippery slope that many believed unthinkable until the company took its bold step: The search engine tweaked its Gmail Contacts Data API terms of service to bar third-party companies from automatically taking Gmail contact data without also allowing users to export contact data just as easily. The TOS didn't name Facebook, but Google did in a strongly worded statement accusing Facebook of leaving users in a "data dead end" because it doesn't allow users to move contact info in and out of the massive social network of 500 million-plus users. Facebook declined to comment, but it has historically declined to let contact data exit its walled garden for privacy concerns. This is not a one-off move without precedent. Google has taken issue with Facebook's protectiveness regarding contact data for the last three years since it joined the social software game with OpenSocial. Since then, Google and Facebook have duked it out over data in several forums. However, the new move is interesting because it appears to go against Google's own Data Liberation Front tenets. Google is basically trying to strong-arm Facebook into sharing the contact data it so closely guards.