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.
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.