If you were a recipient of the Android 2.3.3 OTA that went out to the Nexus S, or went ahead and did it manually, you may have noticed that Facebook contact syncing is suddenly missing. That's because Google has purposely removed the feature from the Nexus S and all future "googlephones" because users can't pull those synced Facebook contacts off the phone, and if you decide to remove your Facebook account, those contacts will suddenly go missing. Google's official statement on the matter is as follows:

“We believe it is very important that users are able to control their data. So in the over-the-air update for Nexus S, we have a small change to how Facebook contacts appear on the device. For Nexus S users who downloaded the Facebook app from Android Market, Facebook contacts will no longer appear to be integrated with the Android Contacts app. Since Facebook contacts cannot be exported from the device, the appearance of integration created a false sense of data portability. Facebook contact data will continue to appear within the Facebook app. Like all developers on Android, Facebook is free to use the Android contacts API to truly integrate contacts on the device, which would allow users to have more control over their data. We are removing the special-case handling of Facebook contacts on Nexus S and future lead devices. We continue to believe that reciprocity (the expectation that if information can be imported into a service it should be able to be exported) is an important step toward creating a world of true data liberation — and encourage other websites and app developers to allow users to export their contacts as well.”

Interestingly enough, this won't be affecting Nexus One owners who also updated today because the Facebook app for the Nexus One was baked in to the stock software. Google says they don't want to remove a feature that users were already expecting to be available. With all of that in mind, do remember that OEMs like Motorola and HTC can re-enable this feature relatively easily. Both HTC and Motorola already use their own Facebook sync, so this may be a non-issue for many. [TechCrunch]


Reader comments

Google removes Facebook contact syncing on Nexus S, leaves it as is on Nexus One


We should still have the option to sync, I can see though that when a new contact is created or linked via facebook, the export is the problem, why not work on a work around instead of pulling it all together, or ad least offer the option to sync but with a warning...

It's not up to Google with the export feature. They're doing this to spite Facebook. This is what they've been bickering another since a few months ago.

There is an option in the Facebook app settings to only sync with existing contacts. You do not have to sync all contacts.

check the market place they yanked all facebook apps supporting anything besides the native app...interesting

This is bold from Google. This is exactly what happens when you have a 23 year old be the CEO of a huge company - stupid bickering fights fueled by power complex's. Facebook allows exporting of photos to hotmail and yahoo, but excluded Google. this is only because Mark wants to be the next google.

Now we, the user, are forced to be inconvienced because google is fighting back. And the worst part is, it won't end. We just won't get facebook contacts on our phones anymore. we can't fight it.

Facebook is played out anyway. Too much white noise. Most people should just put their crap updates on twitter. And the privacy settings are a joke.

Or better yet why can't we be selective about which facebook contact to sync with....makes too much sense I guess.

I agree - I have the Evo and it syncs ALL of my friends on facebook into my address book... I wish it would only sync the contacts that are in my address book. I've read about workarounds but they are hit and miss.. I just wish it didn't do it!

Maybe Google has removed the Facebook Sync cuz it causes the random reboots on the Nexus S :PPP,this happens when Facebook are spamming and trolling all the time!

Sorry Google, I understand you're trying to do this to show users need more control of their data, but in reality people are going to choose to NOT buy an Android device because it doesn't have Facebook.

Everyday users don't care that you're trying to improve their data control; they only care that their Facebook stuff shows up.

i have to agree, enhuman. am looking at phones right now, considering trying the nexus but wont keep it if it doesnt offer the fb functions i am used to on my droid.

I don't understand why you guys say you "have" to sync all contacts? I have the newest Facebook and there is clearly an option to only sync with current contacts.

I'm no tech wizard so forgive me for asking. So theres no way at all to sync contacts on nexus s 4g?

And this is why I hate cell phones. Purposely asked them if I could link my contacts with Facebook and they said YES! Only had the phone one week...such a rip off.. want everything to be their GOOGLE...such a crock!

I have had this phone for a total of 8 hours and I am considering taking it back tomorrow!!!! This is crap! I found a way around the stupid block of syncing facebook contacts but now i can't edit the contacts. So I am taking it that google wants me to manually enter in all of my contacts? If that is the case google, come to my house and enter them in for me! It isn't fair that you have taken away any options on the phone you are producing. I knew I should have waited till I could afford the iphone...google android is a joke!!!