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This article was published on November 10, 2010

Google vs Facebook: “Trap My Contacts Now”

Google vs Facebook: “Trap My Contacts Now”
Courtney Boyd Myers
Story by

Courtney Boyd Myers

Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of audience.io, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups gr Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of audience.io, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups grow internationally. Previously, she was the Features Editor and East Coast Editor of TNW covering New York City startups and digital innovation. She loves magnets + reading on a Kindle. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter @CBM and .

Ever tried to import your Gmail address book into Facebook? It’s not easy to do and once you manage to do it, your contacts get stuck in a sort of uneditable purgatory. So now Google warns you with a cute title, “Trap my contacts now.”

The Google message asks 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?” and alludes to Facebook saying, “this site doesn’t allow you to re-export your data to other services, essentially locking up your contact data about your friends.”

As reported by Gigaom, Google recently changed the terms of its contacts API, which allows sites to auto-import email address books from Gmail, so that you can find your friends on their network. The change requires anyone using their API to also allow users to export their data, including email addresses. Clearly, a shot at Facebook, which doesn’t allow users to export their contacts. Gigaom also reported that Facebook’s platform engineer Mike Vernal “suggested that Google is being hypocritical about data portability, and is only concerned about it because Facebook is more popular and is a competitive threat. According to Vernal, allowing users to export email addresses is something Google should be required to do, but not something Facebook should have to do — because users on Facebook control their own contact info, but not their friends.”