The Google-Facebook war, let’s recap. First, Google blocked Facebook users from searching their Gmail accounts to add new friends. Why not? Because Facebook did it first– to everyone– by not letting users find Facebook friends on other services. Facebook’s way around this was to use Google’s own export Contacts tool, which angered Google quite a bit.
Enter Eduardo Fernández, a 26-year-old (the same age as Zuck) coder from Chicago (originally from Madrid) and the founder of Improffice Inc., a suite of Google Apps migration tools. When the media started buzzing about the Facebook-Google conflict, the Google apps hacker said to himself, “Hm, it shouldn’t be hard to use your Gmail contacts on Facebook to check for new friends…” So he and his team spent just 48 hours creating “Gmail Contacts,” a Facebook app that navigates around Google’s attempts to put an informationsharing dunce cap on Facebook.
The app finds which of your Gmail contacts are on Facebook and then gives you the option to friend them. At first, the app only returned two contacts, with a message that says, “Due to the large number of people using this application, we can only check 50 contacts at a time.” It does give you an easy option to check 50 more contacts, at 10 second intervals. The second time it brought up four more contacts that I was not yet Facebook friends with. If the application becomes more popular, Fernández told Wired that he’ll increase his server capacity to remove the 50 name limitation.
Also, according to Wired, the app doesn’t use Google’s API, “so you have to take Fernández at his word that the app doesn’t remember your password.” But Fernández says he may integrate the app with Google’s API in the future.
“We had already developed a similar technology,” he explains. “We already had part of the code for retrieving your Gmail contacts.” For Fernández, the Facebook app is just a fun, side project that he doesn’t intend to make any money on. His company, Improffice, a 6-month old start-up, offers a suite of products to transfer data between Google Apps accounts like email, contacts, calendars and Google docs.
The app, which launched last Friday, November 12th has received only a couple hundred users. Interested? Access the app here.