A new Google Chrome extension makes extracting Facebook contacts a lot easier, helping users more easily reconstruct their respective social graphs on Google+.
The extension, called Facebook Friend Exporter, lets you export details that your Facebook friends have already shared with you, including their names, email addresses, phone numbers, websites, addresses and birthdays. The information can be saved as a CSV file or imported directly into your Gmail address book as a folder labeled “Imported from Facebook.”
A user’s Google+ connections are based upon his or her Gmail address book. To get started, users are encouraged to sift through their Google contacts to add them to “Circles” for friends, family, classmates, co-workers, and other custom groups. Circles are Google’s attempt to help users interact better with specific social groups.
But interaction may be the core problem that Google+ faces when going up against social networking heavyweight Facebook. Having users start from scratch isn’t an easy sell, and the Chrome extension doesn’t help with this problem, unfortunately. As the extension doesn’t export a Facebook user’s history — which many users will probably see as a positive, anyway — you won’t find the Facebook stream of photos, videos, and status updates on Google+.
CNET reporter Stephen Shankland pointed out that this tool probably won’t rub well with Facebook, citing Section 3.2 of Facebook’s terms of service: “You will not collect users’ content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission.”
Google’s release of Google+ will probably spur up existing hostility between the two tech giants, as Google has long held that a user should be able to easily extract his or her data (case in point, Google Takeout lets you extract your data, including Google contacts). Facebook, on the other hand, claims that Google’s practices raise “serious privacy concerns.”
If building out your Google+ network is a high priority, though, this Chrome extension could be of great help. Creator Mohamed Mansour warns, though: “Use at your own risks! From the 30K+ users who used it, no one got a ban notice from Facebook, but I don’t guarantee that.”