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Web Giants In Data Spat

You may have read about recent data spats between Google and Facebook over contact data export, causing tension or rift between a social network giant and search engine giant.

Under the current model of connecting between Facebook and your contacts stored in your emails is by allowing Facebook to automatically export contacts from those accounts into Facebook.  A simple procedure really.  However, Google argues that while this is a preferred model to find your friends and family on Facebook; Facebook do not share its data (in terms of new contacts made on Facebook) back to Google accounts.  A fair argument I say.

So as a result of this little spat, Google have blocked Facebook API (Application Programming Interface) to directly export a user’s contact details.  Instead you can export your own Google Contact details and upload it into Facebook.  But wait here.  There is a flaw with this notion.  If you are someone like me, then with each contact you would have their multiple phone numbers, addresses, birthdays etc.  All organised in Google contact.  The question here would be…do you really want to upload all of that onto Facebook??  Be honest why would you? Why have multiple sources of the same contact??  It’s always better to have one source and multiple API’s connecting to the original source.  So in terms of what Google’s argument is that should a Facebook user add a new friend on their Facebook account.  That new friend should be added onto your Google Account together with relevant details such as email, telephone, location etc.

It’s a logical path really.  Regardless of who your mail and contact source is, with your modern day smartphone you are already (well you should be) synchronising your mail, contact and calendar from your email address account to your smartphone. And then use services such as Facebook, twitter, MySpace and others as links to the source contact.

This is something that the new Windows Phone 7 does exceptionally well.  Something that iOS, Android and Blackberry should really take a note of. All of these arguments then fall back onto Cloud Computing. Where data is stored in one location.

Android may have kicked started off contact links, and well demonstrated this under Sony Ericson X10, but failed to standardise this across all flavours of Android and builds that were probably just too customisable to the phone manufacturer.  One of many arguments made by Steve Jobs recently with regards to OS standards.

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