While some may write off Google+ as doomed to fail, Facebook is apparently feeling pretty apprehensive about Google’s startup social network. Chrome application developer Mohamed Mansour created an excellent app to export your Facebook data to more easily import it into Google+’s system, allowing you to fairly easily bring in your contacts’ e-mail addresses, birthdays, and phone numbers, among other data. Facebook quickly responded by finding a way to stop the app from working.
“Facebook is trying so hard to not allow you to export your friends. They started to remove e-mails of your friends from your profile by today July 5th 2011. It will no longer work for many people,” says Mansour, who is trying to come up with a workaround to Facebook’s block.
It’s here that we see a huge difference in ideologies between Google and the big blue social monolith. While Google believes in openness and being able to readily access information that’s yours, Facebook takes the approach that any information or media that’s put in their system is theirs, and they are free to limit that information at will. When you try to export information about your contacts via Facebook’s own tool, you’re given a simple list of names with no information.
Regardless of the success of Mansour’s application, one thing is clear: Google’s battle is not just against a competing social application; it’s a battle of open vs. closed, of the freedom to use information that’s available vs. only being able to use it on someone else’s terms. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Google has championed its open system against a closed system, is it?