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Google and Facebook in data sharing row

by Sarah Griffiths on 10 November 2010, 10:25

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Facebook

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Facebook has provided a way of letting users export contact information from Gmail, following Google's move to block the data sharing practice.

The social networking site has added a link to allow users to shift their Gmail contacts to their computer then upload them to Facebook, in a retaliatory strike that has irked the search giant, the BBC reported.

Google reportedly ceased the data sharing happening automatically as it was not benefiting from any Facebook data, and branded Facebook's sneaky manoeuvre as ‘disappointing'.

A Google spokesperson reportedly said: "We're disappointed that Facebook didn't invest their time in making it possible for their users to get their contacts out of Facebook. As passionate believers that people should be able to control the data they create, we will continue to allow our users to export their Google contacts."

The tiff has drawn attention to the two giants' rivalry and Facebook is increasingly seen as the holy grail of user data with firms desperate to share data with it...if there's something in it for them. Currently the social network has a deal with Bing letting its data appear in its search engine, but there is no link with Google.

Reading between the lines, Mike Davis, a senior analyst at Ovum, told the BBC: "Facebook is a significant challenge to Google's dominance of the web sphere and it has decided that it doesn't want to give Facebook any more advantage. This is Google waking up to the fact that it was the next big thing and that now Facebook is."

"Its 500 million contacts and links are absolute nirvana for advertising executives and Facebook is a lot closer to its customers. Google is probably the biggest data repository in the world but it doesn't have that all important social interaction," he added.