The next time you sign up for Facebook, adding your Gmail contacts might be a pain. Google has decided to block other services from automatically getting its users' email contacts for their own purposes, unless the third party is not ready to part with its own data. Facebook is the prime reason because the social networking giant only takes data but doesn't part with its own users' information.

Two internet giants at each others' throats

This can come as a big blow for Facebook, which like many social networking sites rely on email services like Google's Gmail for their users to add new people or find people who are already on the site. One of Google's statements was that websites like Facebook “leave users in a data dead end.” Facebook did not respond with any comment.

Although Google labels this move as an attempt to protect its users personal data on the internet, analysts feel it highlights the battle between Google, the world's largest search engine, and Facebook, the dominant networking site.

“The fundamental power dynamic on the Web today is this emerging conflict between Facebook and Google,” said Gartner analyst Ray Valdes. “Google needs to evolve to become a big player in the social Web and it hasn't been able to do that.”

“If people do search within Facebook, if they do email within Facebook, if they do instant messaging within Facebook, all of these will chip away at Google's properties.”

“We have decided to change our approach slightly to reflect the fact that users often aren't aware that once they have imported their contacts into sites like Facebook, they are effectively trapped,” Google said in an emailed statement.

“We will no longer allow websites to automate the import of users' Google Contacts (via our API) unless they allow similar export to other sites,” Google said.

Google also stated that users can download data on their computers in “an open, machine-readable format” which can then be imported into any Web service.

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