Google’s New Feature: “Trap My Contacts Now”

Want to import your Gmail address book into Facebook? Google is happy to let you do that (although it doesn’t want to make it easy). But first, it wants you to be aware of what you’re doing — namely, that you are importing them into a place where you will never be able to get them back out again. Hence, the new message that greets anyone trying to use this feature, which has the sarcastic title: “Trap my contacts now.” In the serve-and-volley that has been going on between the two web giants over data portability in the past week, call this one a drop shot. Reg Cure

The Google message asks users: “Are you super sure you want to import your contact information for your friends into a service that won’t let you get it out?” and notes that the site the user was redirected from (Facebook’s name is never mentioned) “doesn’t allow you to re-export your data to other services, essentially locking up your contact data about your friends.” Google says it “strongly disagrees” with this kind of data protectionism, but is willing to let users export their information because it believes they should control what happens to it. The notice also contains a checkbox that allows a user to “register a complaint over data protectionism,” although it’s not clear what exactly that does.

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