User who log in to Facebook for the first time are offered the option of finding their friends on the world’s largest social network by importing their contacts from Google.
But when users sign up for Gmail, there is no recriprocal treatment. You can’t use Facebook to find Gmail contacts, even if their email is included on their public profile.
Yesterday, as Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch reported, Google made a significant alteration to its terms of service.
Let’s call it the Eddie Murphy Raw clause: What have you done for me lately?
From now on, any service that wants to access Google’s Contact API has to return the favor.
As Kincaid notes, this is a move away from the open philosophy that Google traditionally espouses. On the other hand, if Google can use its size to leverage sites like Facebook into sharing back, the web as a whole will be more open.
Google isn’t alone in feeling snubbed by Facebook. Zuck’s social network also blocked Twitter’s access to its contacts earlier this year.
Facebook doesn’t necessarily need Google to return the favor; there are a couple alternative routes it could take to sniff out those contacts. Still, this is a serious move that will make the process of signing up for Facebook more arduous for many new users.