Earlier this week, Facebook blocked an extension for Google’s Chrome browser that allowed users to import their contacts from Facebook to the new social network on the block, Google+. The move wasn’t particularly surprising considering Facebook’s mediocre data liberation track record. But thanks to open source software company Open-Xchange, friends lists are once again free to travel where you want them to go.
Open-Xchange’s extension uses official APIs from your social networks, as well as emails you’ve sent, to correctly match all your contact information, and form one giant address book. Because the tool uses only official APIs, it should be next to impossible for Facebook to block the exporter, as it did with the Chrome extension.
The tool is currently only a web-based extension, but the company says that it plans to incorporate the extension into its software, so people can download it and run it off their computers.
Right now, using the service is a little bit complicated. But for those of you who are anxious to migrate all you Facebook friends over to Google+, here’s how to use it:
1. If your browser is set to block pop-up windows, turn that off.
2. Visit ox.io.
3. Click “Create an account,” and fill out the necessary fields.
4. Validate your account via the link sent to your email address. A Wizard will pop-up on your screen. Cancel that, and instead go to Mail View, which is accessible though the blue envelope icon located in the top left corner.
5. Click “Add email account” on the left side, and add the email address you use for most of your contacts. You can add additional emails later, if you wish. The email you use must be IMAP (not POP), but that includes most major email services, like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, etc.
6. Click the Contacts View icon (black, fourth over in the top left corner). Then select “Import Facebook contacts.” To complete the process, we had to click “…or create a fresh one for your profile” button that appears in the pop-up menu. This will ask you to add the Open-Xchange app to your Facebook account, so it’s best to be already logged into Facebook before you get to this point.
7. Click “start” and the tool will begin the export process. (This takes about 5 minutes.)
8. And you’re done! Your contacts will then appear in the Open-Xchange, and you can also download the list directly to your computer. You can now import the contacts into a range of address books and social networks, including Google+
The Open-Xchange tool, which exports only email addresses, is not as thorough as the now-defunct Chrome extension, which also included things like birthdays. But it’s good enough to get things rolling past the Facebook blockade. Or, if you’d rather go a different route, you can just use the new Chrome and Facebook extension that lets users stream Facebook directly into Google+. Yeah, it’s already gotten that crazy.