Facebook contact export app makes Google+ migration easy

After Facebook snubbed users hoping to export their details from the social network and make a quick start on Google+ earlier, blocking the Friend Exporter tool earlier this week, a new service has sprung up to liberate your contact details. Open-Xchange has cooked up a simple system that pulls out emails via the official Facebook APIs – meaning it can't get too huffy about the mechanism – called ox.io,

The free beta basically acts as a contacts-sync system, in a similar way to how Android phones can slot Facebook friend details into the phone's address book. The advantage of the Open-Xchange system, however, is that it can also harvest contacts from your various email accounts, as long as they support IMAP access. That way, the email address of any recent correspondent – not necessarily on Facebook – can also be included.

The process is said to be time-consuming, though it pings you with an email notification to let you know when the scanning is complete. Then you can download the various emails as a vCard and import that into Google+ (or, indeed, any other vCard-compatible service, handy for simply keeping a backup of your Facebook friends' email addresses).

Open-Xchange isn't charging for the ox.io service (it warns that as a beta it might not be 100-percent stable), and appears to be using the opportunity to make a stand for online-openness:

"The Cloud needs to be open – just as source code and data protocols needed to be open to create the Internet. With more and more data moving into and being created inside the cloud, this data needs to be owned by the creators, not the services" Open Exchange statement

Facebook is yet to comment on the new service. Full instructions from ZDNet as to how to use ox.io below:

  • Allow popups in your browser. Then go to ox.io.
  • Click on Create Account and do so.
  • Click on the link you received in your email – you'll be logged into your private OX account immediately.
  • Click cancel on the Wizard screen (you may go back there later from the help menu), and instead go to the Mail View (click on the envelope in the top left corner). Click on Add Email account... and add at least that account that you use for communications with the people from your network. Your email account must be IMAP – not POP, or it won't work. Your Open-Xchange account will not copy any emails, it just makes that account available inside the Web UI.
  • Optional: Add more email accounts (must be IMAP). The more email your Open-Xchange user can harvest for email addresses and names the more it can overcome the limitations of the APIs.
  • If you only want to import Facebook skip to step 7, otherwise use the import wizard first. Go to Help (the "?" on the top) and then choose Wizard. On page 2 you can select from many other services (the more the better). Don't do Facebook, this comes last.
  • Go to the contacts view (the black figure icon), click on the "Import facebook contacts button." Click the "—or create a fresh one for your profile" oAuth Account button to allow access of Open-Xchange to your Facebook account. Press Start.

[Thanks Adrian!]