Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to sit down with Google and work out the privacy issues that caused Facebook to block Google’s Friend Connect last week, he said Monday.
“We want to talk to Google about this and see if there’s a way we can make it work,” said Zuckerberg at a news conference in Tokyo. He was in the Japanese capital to launch the local-language version of the social networking site.
Google Friend Connect allows Web site operators to add social networking functions to their Web sites. Users visiting the sites will be able to interact with new people or existing friends from social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut and Plaxo. It’s the possibility of data redistribution to third-party sites by Google that caused Facebook to block access, it said last week.
“Part of the issue with Google’s Friend Connect is that when users grant access to Google’s product, Google might share their information with another application, or some part of it, maybe not all of it, without that user knowing. And part of what makes our system work is that people know exactly who they are sharing all their information with,” he said.
Zuckerberg contradicted Google Engineering Director David Glazer, who said last week in a phone interview with IDG News Service that Google had spoken to Facebook about the service prior to its launch.
“They launched that without asking us or talking to us about it first so we had no choice but to follow the rules that we had set forth for any developer on top of our platform and we followed them,” said Zuckerberg. “But Google’s a big player in the space and they make good things and our goal is to work with them to figure this out.”
Zuckerberg also noted that Facebook has had a similar service, Facebook Connect, available since late 2006.
“We think it’s good that other people are picking up on this trend now,” he said.
Facebook faces a tough market in Japan. The number one social networking site, Mixi, has the market virtually sewn up with more than 10 million users, and some doubt whether Facebook’s top selling point, that people use real names, will appeal to Japanese users, many of whom only feel free to express themselves when hiding behind a pseudonym.
Zuckerberg hinted that an update to the company’s site for cell phone users, Facebook Mobile, might be coming for Japan and other advanced mobile markets.
“We have a mobile version of the site and that’s just a first version. We realize that in a lot of more advanced, technical cultures that phones are in many ways more important than the Web but this is just a first approach to that,” he said.
The number of people accessing the Internet via cell phones in Japan outnumbers those accessing the network from personal computers, so a strong mobile site is also important.