Facebook is doing a pretty good job closing itself off from the stream of individuals who want to take the site up on its terms of service and remove their content. In the past few weeks since G+ was released they have blocked at least one app entirely and interrupted the service of several others as they “redefine” their policy regarding just what information an application can request via their API.
Despite their best efforts a few ways to get at your data still exist. Previously I noted the FotoLink app for Facebook that allows you to export your (greatly downsized) pictures. BEGIN SOAPBOX: I for one was distraught to discover that Facebook did not provide the same level of quality photo for download that I had uploaded. Somehow over the years I never noticed when they added the reduction and compression to their albums. Needless to say I was not pleased to see some of the photos that I have no other backups of essentially made useless by a third party. I’m going to begin investing in more personal backup and storage from this point out. END SOAPBOX.
Export Facebook Contacts to Yahoo Mail Then Import to Google+
You have friends. You have lots of them. Well, okay, you have a lot of acquaintances and old contacts who you have managed to find and stalk on Facebook (it’s okay reciprocal stalking is in). Let’s say for a moment you want to be able to easily discover this same group of stalkees on an infantile social network. Thankfully G+ provides the latter, yet Facebook does not easily provide for the former. These are your contacts, or so you thought. Facebook believes that the connections it has helped you identify are its own and not something for you to be tossing about the internet freely.
What’s a social network gadfly to do then? Use the only real alternative for exporting your contact info, e-mail. I know, “ew”, a lot of you are thinking. E-mail is a 20-something technology, not exactly beloved by all. Many are saying that it should just go away, but they’ve also been saying that for a while now.
So, e-mail naysayers not withstanding go out and register, or reactivate as I did, your YahooMail account (note that at this point of re-activation I had to laugh. Yahoo is kind enough to tell you upon reactivation of an old account that after 4-months of inactivity they will again deactivate your account. At which point I thought, “Well gee, sorry Yahoo, but this is a one time only affair. I’ll be gone in five minutes.”) So, you will be leaving a bit of electronic waste behind you in this, but fear not – it will be gone in four months anyway.
Yahoo account in hand, simply login and navigate to the contacts section of the site. Then, locate the easily identifiable “Facebook” button within the find/add contacts area. It should ask you for a Facebook account and password. If you’ve managed to do all this you’ll see something like the following export dialog.
Export Contacts from Facebook
Once you have your contacts in Yahoo what good are they? Well, thankfully e-mail addresses, when maintained, are unique. So this gives you a pretty good chance of finding those parties you need to keep in touch with as they trickle into and explore the new G+ network. The export provides you with two things a name and an e-mail, which is enough to get to work finding new friends.
From here you are almost done in YahhoMail, thankfully. The last step is to locate the “export contacts” option and begin the export process. You will want to select a Yahoo CSV (comma separated values) file. I believe the other export types will work, however this one is basic and very fast to process, with little to no overhead in a plain text file. Begin the export and save the file to an accessible place on your computer. Your first choice, CSV, and other options are shown below.
Yahoo Mail Contact Export Options
With your Contacts in hand – it’s time for your final real step. Open up Gmail and navigate to the contacts section. Once there, select the import tab from the “More Actions” menu above your contacts and you should be prompted with the following dialog box once you have made your selection.
Gmail Import Yahoo Contacts
With the import dialog indicate the file that you downloaded from Yahoo and then I strongly suggest creating a new group for these contacts. For example, I created used the import dialog to automatically create a “From Facebook” contacts group. This allowed me to ensure that I can still easily search for the folks I readily e-mailed in months and year prior, while also grouping the hundreds I just imported.
Once you’re done, it’s time to go back to G+ and reload the Circles page. It might take a few seconds for you G+ to synch with the volume of new e-mails within your Gmail, but once it does – you’ll see the folks you never knew were already on your new, favorite network and the multitude that aren’t.