Facebook and Google haven’t been on particularly good terms. The rather unpleasant relationship between the two extends well back into the past and the main reason is that Facebook has been refusing to allow Google to use its user data. While Facebook officially says that it won’t share the data because of privacy reasons of the users, Larry Page says that is false.
Page has been quite open in a recent interview in which he spoke about the contention between Facebook and Google. According to him, ‘I think it’s been unfortunate that Facebook has been pretty closed with their data … and I think we would certainly — you know, we’re in the business of searching data. We don’t generally turn it down when it’s offered to us.’
He further stated, “”I think the idea that, you know, you’d hold your users hostage, kind of, and the absence of reasons for it that don’t make sense. … You know, they’d hold their users’ data.”
Facebook’s only excuse for shutting out its data from Google is that it wants to ensure user privacy. However, Page says that is utterly false because Facebook is sharing its user data with Yahoo so that Yahoo is able to include results directly from Facebook. Page says that the whole excuse of guarding user data is limited to Facebook’s response to Google.
During the interview, Page further stated, “From a user’s perspective you say, ‘Oh, it’s great. I’m — you know, I’m joining Facebook. I want my contacts.’ In Google, we said, ‘Fine, you know. You can get them from Google.’ And the issue we had is that then Facebook said, ‘No, Google, you can’t do the reverse.’ And so we just said, ‘Well, users don’t understand what they’re doing. They’re putting data in, and they don’t understand they can’t take it out.’ So we said, ‘We’ll only participate with people who have reciprocity.’ And we’re still waiting.”
It is understandable that Page is angry over this. Google has been the hub of web search and Facebook has come about to become a critically important part of the web. Perhaps its about time that Google tried to improve its relations with other social networks, the likes of Twitter, and start displaying results directly from them so that eventually, Facebook is forced to be on board.