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Google Contacts API Update Now Block Facebook’s Access to Gmail Contacts

Google has made a significant change to its Google Contacts API terms of service that technically prevents Facebook from using it to improve their friends database.

When users sign up to Facebook, they’re prompted to add friends. They can do so manually or by uploading their contacts or email lists. To make this process easier, Facebook, like other sites, integrate various APIs to allow users to enter their username and passwords on 3rd party sites to get the data for them. Google is one of those data sources for Facebook.

Now, the new policy requires Facebook or anyone else who uses this API, to allow their users to export the data from their system — as easily as you can export the data from Google.

Here’s the clause:

Google Contact API Clause 5.8

With the rivalry between Google and Facebook heating up on several fronts (advertising, location-based services, its search deal with Bing, etc.), Google has made no secret that it wants access to all the valuable information Facebook has on its over 500 million users.

In Sep at Google Zeitgeist, Eric Schmidt said: “The best thing that would happen is for Facebook to open up its data,” Schmidt said. “Failing that, there’re other ways to get that information.”

According to Google:

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