South of Tonight

Sporadic murmurs and other pomegranates from a one-way street

Facebook Finds A New Way To Liberate Your Gmail Contact Data (Facebook Is A Dangerous Black Hole)

That huge sucking sound you hear is Facebook, piling data from third parties into its mouth as fast as it can while it remains stubbornly greedy about releasing its own data to anyone it doesn’t like. Which is mostly Google these days, since Yahoo and AOL completely surrendered and Microsoft actually owns part of them.

Google shut them down last week, restricting API access and effectively blocking contacts exports to Facebook in any automated way. This is, I wrote, the true beginning of data protectionism.

Now Facebook has found a way around that restriction. They’re leveraging a Google feature that lets users download their own data for their own use – part of Google’s golf-clap worthy data liberation effort. They’ve hacked a solution around the block by giving users a direct deep link to the download feature. And then users can upload that file directly to Facebook.

Can Google block this? One engineer I spoke with says yes, but it will be difficult: “If Google wanted to, they could block it immediately. it’s pretty simple. just put a CSRF token on the url to block deep linking but that might fuck up other CSV flows. Maybe they have an outlook importer or something. facebook really went aggressive here.”

It’s also a big middle finger to Google.

Update: Google’s response here.

Google image

Website: google.com
Location: Mountain View, California, United States
Founded: September 7, 1998
IPO: August 19, 2004

Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including:… Learn More

Facebook image

Website: facebook.com
Location: Palo Alto, California, United States
Founded: February 1, 2004
Funding: $836M

Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 500 million users.

Facebook was founded by… Learn More

Information provided by CrunchBase

Another reason why I call Facebook a black hole. Everything goes in but nothing comes out. Facebook is a dangerous online community. It is getting freaky. I would rather trust my online info to the all-powerful Wizard of Oz. Thanks Toto.

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2 thoughts on “Facebook Finds A New Way To Liberate Your Gmail Contact Data (Facebook Is A Dangerous Black Hole)

  1. Wow… at one time, I was a little bothered by Google Buzz and how Google tied together Buzz content with the rest of the Google universe (Blogger, Picassa, YouTube). When I saw private pictures on Picassa and videos uploaded to YouTube appearing in my Buzz stream without my prior consent, I was wondering just what Google was up to…And now I read this? Do I trust the devil I know or the devil I don't? Google's mantra may be "Don't be evil", but Facebook isn't even saying that.I might need to seriously reconsider rebuilding the server that houses latheofdreams.com this week. Should I try an alpha Diaspora which I can control the privacy on over a despicable facebook and "non-evil" Google?

  2. Hi Gang. Waiting for Diaspora. Will try it but don't know if I want to join another community. Tumblr, Blogger, Twitter and Posterous may be enough.

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