Google Contacts throws a gauntlet at Facebook?

Given the size Facebook has grown to, it has an obvious ‘elephant in the corner’ for those willing to step back from their time-line for a minute.  Those users who are only interested in friends, photos and now location-based checkins too might miss the fact that Facebook is data-mining on a grand scale.

The debate about the public visibility of your data has grabbed the media’s attention. What’s given less coverage is the missing ability for you to easily use and share the data you’ve chosen to store with Facebook elsewhere on the internet.

Google have recently changed their terms of service on their Contacts API in a seemingly simple way, but with hopefully bigger consequences. GigaOm summised in their article about this by saying “Third-party apps and services can’t pull data from Google without allowing Google to do the same with their data”.

We shall have to see whether linking with Google Contacts in Gmail etc. to find new friends to connect to on Facebook is enough to force Facebook to apply a can-opener to their own APIs.

Thanks to Adam Bird for sending me a link to the GigaOm story.

Avoid Google keyword detection picking up Firefox ‘aq=’

For those of you who are monitoring or stripping keywords from referrer strings from Google you may be seeking out the query string parameter ‘q=’.
Beware that a simple string match on ‘q=’ could lead you to match on the additional Firefox parameter ‘aq=’. This appears in a Google referrer string if the search terms were originally searched for from the Firefox searchbar.
The aq=t parameter was added by Mozilla in 2006 at the request of Google.

Make sure that any string matching you’re doing is looking for a preceeding ampersand (&) or question mark (?) so that you match the ‘q=’ parameter correctly.