Google’s new Friend Connect initiative is in trouble. On May 15, Facebook effectively pulled out of participation in Google Friend Connect service, which links social networks and traditional Web sites. “Now that Google has launched Friend Connect, we’ve had a chance to evaluate the technology. We’ve found that it redistributes user information from Facebook to other developers without users’ knowledge, which doesn’t respect the privacy standards our users have come to expect and is a violation of our Terms of Service. Just as we’ve been forced to do for other applications that redistribute data in a way users might not expect or understand, we’ve had to suspend Friend Connect’s access to Facebook user information until it comes into compliance,” according to Facebook.
My take: Facebook just realized just how dangerous Friend Connect is. The service lets Google know which social networks and friends users interact with. That could eventually allow Google to lure away advertisers from social networks.
Alas, Facebook isn’t stupid. It was the only non-Google property to participate in Friend Connect. Now that it’s pulled out, the initiative turns into nothing more than yet another way to link fellow Google properties. And that turns a cool project into a blah project.