War, What Is It Good For – Google and Facebook Going At It (Again)

Posted on November 5, 2010


TechCrunch reported yesterday that Google has expressed to Facebook,

“You can’t import our user data without reciprocity.”

Reciprocity as defined by dictionary.com is:

  1. a reciprocal state or relation.
  2. reciprocation; mutual exchange.
  3. the relation or policy in commercial dealings between countries by which corresponding advantages or privileges are granted by each country to the citizens of the other.

Even definition 3 could apply since both online titans are the size of two countries. With that being said, what would be the issue of reciprocity that Google feels is not being granted to their citizens (us).

Think back to when you initially signed up for Facebook, you were given the ability to have the site run through your contact lists of email addresses. This is a powerful feature for Facebook because it adds more users to their site. Google has turned off the feature not enabling Gmail to run through one’s contact list because Google feels Facebook is playing unfair. Let’s examine.

Most email platforms and social networking sites provide the user with the ability to export their contact list. Facebook has never allowed the user the ability to export YOUR friends.  One can export a name of a friend but that would be the extent of it.

The Internet is about being open and transparent. Google feels that Facebook is violating the philosophy of openness by limiting down-loadable content to information you’ve uploaded — photos, wall posts, videos, events, and messages. Your most precious data, your contacts, cannot be downloaded in this way.

So, Google wants users’ to have the ability to download their contacts.  In return, Google will allow users of Facebook the ability to instantly connect with those same contacts on Facebook.

As these two mammoth organizations compete and disagree on this issue, it is the user who gets left out in the cold.  Although it may not seem like a major capability being denied to users, it does signify that there is a battle going on. We know what battles can lead to…

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, y’all

War, huh, good God
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

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