Facebook bans Google's Friend Connect

Summary:A few days ago, Google launched a new service called Friend Connect to help website owners make their stuff social without needing to do much work. This basically involves being able to host certain gadgets that use OpenSocial on a webpage by simply copy and pasting some code from Google.

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A few days ago, Google launched a new service called Friend Connect to help website owners make their stuff social without needing to do much work. This basically involves being able to host certain gadgets that use OpenSocial on a webpage by simply copy and pasting some code from Google.

One of the down-sides of this new service is the fact it's difficult to completely customize your gadgets to match, and feel tightly integrated with your website -- this is because they are always hosted in what are called "iframes" on an external domain (at Google). As a side-effect, the data stored in these frames is impossible to gather due to restrictions put in place by every modern browser.

Now Facebook has banned Google because of privacy concerns according to their blog.

We’ve found that it redistributes user information from Facebook to other developers without users’ knowledge

Unless I'm missing something, Google has not "redistributed user information to other developers" at all -- that information is still safe and secure. As a web developer, it's impossible to mine this user information since the content is stored on an external domain.

Hold on a minute though. Now Facebook is a champion of privacy?

At Facebook, we always look out for the privacy of our users.

I guess people have already forgotten about the Beacon disaster -- How Facebook published users activity on third party websites without those users' consent, which led to an official apology from Mark Zuckerberg in December.

At first we tried to make [Beacon] very lightweight so people wouldn't have to touch it for it to work. The problem with our initial approach of making it an opt-out system instead of opt-in was that if someone forgot to decline to share something, Beacon still went ahead and shared it with their friends. -- Mark Zuckerberg

I wonder how long it will be before Google bans Facebook from gathering contact information stored in Gmail without those users' consent or knowledge?

Topics: Software Development, Browser, Google, Social Enterprise

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