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Google Blunts Facebook Phone App on Android

Mobile users will take a hit from the ongoing feud between Facebook and Google, according to a BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12565527) report. The quarreling duo on the Android platform is growing farther apart as Google’s decision to halt its data sharing policy with Facebook. The move means that Facebook contacts will no longer show up in the Android contact list with the advent of Gingerbread, the latest version of Google’s operating system for smartphones.

Google Phones First

Google’s decision to give its own smartphones, the failed Nexus One and the new Nexus S, priority for receiving operating system updates means that users with those handsets will be the first to see their Facebook contacts vanish from their mobile contact list.

After the full deployment of Gingerbread on Google phones, other smartphone users will receive the update.

The disappearance of Facebook contacts from the Android contact list could be one of the most notable features of the new version of the operating system, although it is not the only change users should expect.

Facebook Data Access Spat

Late last year, Google took steps to limit Facebook’s access to Gmail contacts based on Facebook’s refusal to allow its users to export Facebook contacts to Gmail and other applications. Described as the Facebook data dead-end, Facebook users have no way to get their data out of Facebook once it’s there, a feature that Google says shows that Facebook doesn’t want to play nice in the digital age.

As TechCrunch (http://techcrunch.com/2010/11/10/google-gets-feisty-kicks-data-portability-fight-with-facebook-up-a-notch/) reported in November, the war over data portability ratcheted upward when Google began warning Facebook users to reconsider importing their Google contacts into the site.

Google, of course, points out that it has an export feature that allows users to get their contacts out of Gmail at any time.

The Facebook Treasure Trove

The Facebook application for Android will continue to allow users to access their contacts from mobile devices, but the days when users could seamlessly access their Facebook and email contacts from one convenient interface are clearly numbered.

Google’s fight for data portability is probably not completely altruistic. After all, Facebook contacts represent the latest and most active Internet users and are probably a potent resource for advertising sales, a point Google is unlikely to ignore.

For its part, Facebook is on the upswing when it comes to Internet popularity, and the company’s apparent desire to supplant Google as the epicenter of online activity suggests that the social networking giant is unlikely to make concessions to Google any time soon.

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