Facebook just not that into Google Friend Connect

Facebook has shut off access to Google's new Friend Connect, citing privacy issues, saying that the service "redistributes data" in ways that users don't "expect or understand," according to a blog post by Facebook developer Charlie Cheever. Google Friend Connect collected and displayed information available through Facebook's tools for third-party web developers to use on their own sites. Funny, Facebook hasn't had a problem with tracking users on third-party sites in the past, but then Facebook just launched a similarly named tool, Facebook Connect.

But Facebook built their social graph on college campuses, and college is where you learn the schoolyard is no place for sharing anymore. At least the company gave a clear reason in language that echoes its official terms of use — unlike eBay's obviously anticompetitive moves to block first PayPal, and (after buying that company), Google Checkout, from leveraging its marketplace.

Is Facebook's move motivated by competitive rivalry? Probably. Can Google complain publicly that it's unfair? Nope. Looks like Facebook's hire of Elliot Schrage is already paying off in terms of dishing Google the company's own PR medicine. Ultimately, while Google's embrace of open standards makes it attractive to developers, users only care about one thing: whether websites work as expected, and don't surprise them by making their data pop up on other sites unawares.