The key phrase there is "arms race" because it was purely a competition for innovation. We didn't see Facebook and Google taking direct shots at each other publicly, instead focusing their energies on new features and products. But that seemingly-good natured race is over, given the feud that's been boiling over the past week.
For those who missed it (or are just confused by the barrage of headlines), here's basically what happened:
- Nov. 4: Google changed their terms of service to prevent Facebook from importing Google contact data without allowing Google to do the same with Facebook's data.
- Nov. 8: Facebook hacked their way around Google's data protection effort, letting them keep their access to Google's data without giving up their own.
- Nov. 9: Google takes a shot at Facebook, in response to Facebook's what's-mine-is-mine-and-what's-yours-is-also-mine approach to data access, saying how "disappointed" they were that Facebook would do something like that.
- Nov. 9: A Facebook engineer shoots back at Google, stating that "[data] openness doesn’t mean being open when it's convenient for you." He went on to claim that Google has flip-flopped on data openness in the past, while Facebook has remained consistent with their policy.
- Nov 10: Google retaliates by sending users trying to import their Google data to Facebook to a jump page warning that Facebook is guilty of data-trapping:
So there it is, the feud between the two biggest online titans revolves around data portability. And while most people are pondering who won this fight, it's pretty much a split decision. Google has seemingly won the moral high ground, painting Facebook as data-hogging bullies. However, the fact is that Facebook is still the one with all of the data.You have been directed to this page from a site that doesn't allow you to re-export your data to other services, essentially locking up your contact data about your friends. So once you import your data there, you won't be able to get it out.
That being said, it's hard to tell whether this is a win-win or a lose-lose situation for these two digital giants. What we do know, however, is that their battle for Internet supremacy got a lot more personal.