Facebook integration with the Nexus S is set to be scooped out after the Android 2.3.3 update currently being distributed OTA, with Google claiming that the social network’s cloud-based contacts violate its terms of service. According to the search giant, while currently Facebook contacts can be synchronized with the Nexus S’ contacts, the fact that the data can’t be exported from the phone “created a false sense of data portability.” It’s the latest jab in the ongoing war over data access between the two companies.
“We believe it is very important that users are able to control their data. So in the over-the-air update for Nexus S, we have a small change to how Facebook contacts appear on the device. For Nexus S users who downloaded the Facebook app from Android Market, Facebook contacts will no longer appear to be integrated with the Android Contacts app. Since Facebook contacts cannot be exported from the device, the appearance of integration created a false sense of data portability. Facebook contact data will continue to appear within the Facebook app. Like all developers on Android, Facebook is free to use the Android contacts API to truly integrate contacts on the device, which would allow users to have more control over their data. We are removing the special-case handling of Facebook contacts on Nexus S and future lead devices. We continue to believe that reciprocity (the expectation that if information can be imported into a service it should be able to be exported) is an important step toward creating a world of true data liberation — and encourage other websites and app developers to allow users to export their contacts as well.” Google statement
Google has previously accused Facebook of being too closed with its data, warning users at the paucity of export methods. Now, Google is telling the social network that it must use the normal Android contacts API “to truly integrate contacts” since it is “removing the special-case handling of Facebook.”
The change will not affect the Nexus One, however, since Google preloaded the Facebook app onto that handset and “created an expectation for users of how the device would function.” However, the decision will impact not only the Nexus S but “future lead devices” which suggests Facebook won’t get its foot into the Android door so easily in future.