Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

No Facebook User Emails for Google–But Yahoo and Microsoft Already Have Access

Facebook and Google are hardly friends these days, and they’re having more and more trouble containing their dislike. (Maybe they should take a hint from Jimmy Kimmel and his National UnFriend Day campaign.)

Background: Last week, Google stopped allowing Facebook to help its users find their friends by importing their Gmail contacts list. Google said the move was about data portability and liberation, calling Facebook a “data dead end” because it wasn’t giving its users’ email addresses to Google.

Facebook yesterday found a workaround to re-enable Google contacts importing, and Facebook engineering lead Mike Vernal commented on TechCrunch at length under his own name, charging Google with hypocrisy for disallowing contact importing for Orkut last year and “limiting user choice.”

What’s funny, though, as sources have pointed out to us, is that Facebook actually does allow email importing, specifically to Yahoo Mail and Microsoft’s Hotmail (we checked AOL mail too, but couldn’t find it there).

This is no secret; Yahoo launched its Facebook email contact importer in March of this year. In a blog post at the time, senior product manager Rick Pal said,

Importing from Facebook is super simple…After you click login, we will authorize your account and begin importing, which may take a minute or two depending on your Internet speed and how many Facebook friends you have.

Update: Microsoft confirmed through a spokesperson that its Windows Live users can import both Facebook and Gmail contacts, and said some nice stuff about its commitment to customer choice.

Access to user emails isn’t something Facebook gives just anyone. In fact, only a few partners can hook into them while the rest have to rely on users’ Facebook-formatted information available through Facebook Connect. That includes Google. The difference, according to a source, is that Yahoo and Microsoft asked nicely.

Please see my disclosure related to Facebook here.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google