Is Facebook already running scared of Google+?

Is Facebook already running scared of Google+?

Summary: It looks to me like Mark Zuckerberg is frightened of what Google+ may do to Facebook as his social network blocks the Facebook Friend Exporter program.

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I've only been using Google's new social network, Google+ for a few days, but I already like Google+ a lot. I've already said Facebook had reason to worry about its users leaving it for Google+. It looks like Facebook agrees. Facebook has blocked Facebook Friend Exporter.

Facebook Friend Exporter, like the name indicates is an open-source Chrome Web browser extension that lets you export your Facebook friend data. Or, rather it briefly did that anyway. Facebook has blocked it.

It wasn't perfect. All it really did was export data--such as names, e-mail addresses, and birthday-- that your friends had shared with you as a comma separated value (CSV) file. You could then import this into Google+. It wasn't easy. Now it only sort of works.

Facebook, you see,  has been removing the e-mail addresses. This means you can't easily import the data into Google+. God forbid that Facebook let you copy your information from their site!

Facebook will allow you to download all your information (Account > Account Settings > Download Your Information > Learn More > Download), including Wall posts, photos, and friend data. But the lump file you'll eventually get isn't useful for much of anything.

Compare that, if you will, with Google Takeout. This complementary Google+ program lets me quickly and easily download all my Google+ information. Advantage: Google+

On top of this, TechCrunch is reported that while Google+ is still only beta and has a limited number of users, it's already "cracked our top ten referring sites." OK, so a lot of that data came during a holiday weekend when most people were watching fireworks and eating hot-dogs instead of playing with the latest Internet social network. Even so, it's impressive.

In fact, I think Facebook looked at their own numbers, looked at how well Google+ was doing, and got scared. That's the only reason I can come up with for Facebook slamming the door on Facebook Friend Exporter.

After all, the program had been around since November and Facebook is notoriously slow about fixing its own problems, never mind shutting down a harmless utility program. So, why was it so important just now to shut Facebook Friend Exporter down? I think it was to keep even a hint that Facebook might lose users to Google+.

Why would Facebook panic so early? Remember that no one really knows how much money Facebook makes and that until Facebook goes public, Mark Zuckerberg's $70-billion company is a whole lot more hype than dollars. If Google+ really takes off, and it's beginning to look like it is, Zuckerberg's fortune may not be quite as large as he's dreamed it would be.

Related Stories:

Facebook blocks Google Chrome extension for exporting friends

Google is starting to finally get social media with Google+

An Open Letter to Google: I love you, Google+, but...

Five Things to love about Google+

Topics: Social Enterprise, Google

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92 comments
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  • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

    Of course he is, he saw what his network did to Myspace and the like... He knows that in Google he's dealing with much the same type of people as he tries to attract at Facebook.
    slickjim
    • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

      @Peter Perry <br><br>Whether FB is running scared or not, what is being done in blocking Google+ simply makes good business sense.
      Wakemewhentrollsgone
      • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

        I think that Google is an advertising company
        raimu koyo asu
      • Good business sense isn't necessarily good ethics

        @ptorning
        John L. Ries
      • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

        @raimu koyo asu

        So is Facebook.
        OffsideInVancouver
      • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

        @ptorning
        Google and Facebook are skanky no matter how much protection you wear! If you're in their boat get out while you can.
        Rob.sharp
      • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

        @Habiloso Google and Facebook are situated on two different levels. Facebook is a social network authentic while Google controls the Internet, it is hard to understand? <a href="http://www.carrental-coupons.org">Car Rental Coupons</a> | <a href="http://www.crearesiteweb.net/">Creare Site</a>
        karismasand07
      • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

        @Habiloso I do not know if a +1 block is a business in these days. Google is reported to the market if the market demands it then implements. <a href="http://www.zuarticles.com">Submit Articles</a>
        kuntakinte77
    • Seeing that Google is now forcing users

      @Peter Perry
      to "go public" or be deleted, it appears that Mr. Vaughan-Nichols is once again incorrect.

      It looks as though Google is running scared after only a week.

      :|
      Tim Cook
  • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

    Could there be any other reason for Facebook to block this application? While I'm inclined to agree with you (Facebook's behaviour in the past correlates with this), there might be a more innocent explanation.

    Regardless, I'm thrilled at the idea of Facebook being toppled. I've never LIKEd it.
    Imrhien
    • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

      @Imrhien
      Zing.
      Droid101
    • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

      @Imrhien

      No one should be easily allowing the export of the information friends have shared with you, not on a site like Facebook. While it is fine for something like Outlook where you create your own records (either from scratch or from a vCard), it is unacceptable on Facebook.

      Google+ has a big hill to climb to catch Facebook. And if you are inclined to trust Google over Facebook, I would suggest you read up on Google's record of not selling all of us out on every piece of information they can collect about us.

      Google+ will not change their character.
      dcristof
      • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

        @dcristof what is the difference in general between exporting the info or typing it yourself? How does the amount of effort justify whether this is acceptable or unacceptable?
        pupkin_z
      • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

        @dcristof
        You're belief is understandable, except that it's rubbish. Once you accept a friend into your fb life, any info you have chosen to share is there's. I doubt you'd be saying the same thing if your iphone fb app failed and you couldn't tell your friends what you had for breakfast in one click.

        The purpose of a social network is to share with your friends. Therefor it makes perfect sense that you'd be able to take that data and put it into Outlook or gmail, or even Juno, if you are old enough to remember that.

        Facebook has the need to keep all data on their proprietary network because while there, and no place else, they own it (read their TOS/Privacy Polices.) In fact, they even own your ideas that you share on their network. But once that data is someplace else, they no longer own all rights and have complete control.

        If you like to give up all rights to everything, keep using your beloved facebook. But don't share an idea you plan on having patented, you'll find yourself on the losing end of a lawyer's rifle.
        mschauber
  • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

    Friendster fell. MySpace fell. Everyone will fall.
    Droid101
    • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

      @Droid101, even Google?
      Roque Mocan
  • Good job Facebook

    Facebook blocked an app that violated its Terms of Service. That is a win for privacy. To impugn that facebook somehow did this in spite or fear is outrageous.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Is Facebook already running scared of Google ?

      @facebook@...
      Except that it was up and running for over eight months. Now, after Google+ is launched, they decide to block it.

      Funny, your name is Facebook and your picture is a "Non-Google" sign. So, we're supposed to take your comments seriously... why?
      Droid101
      • Time is immaterial

        @Droid101 And KDE was up even longer before Facebook wisely dropped the app due to a security bug in the app. All this proves is that Facebook is being more dilligent about their clients privacy.
        Your Non Advocate
      • Facebook's terms of service are anti-user on this: users should have the ..

        @facebook: ... right to get list of their friends, since it is their friends, not Facebooks'.

        But, for now, terms of service are in act and undisputed, so Facebook had the right to ban the extension.
        DDERSSS