You might have heard that Yahoo! announced plans in December to integrate Facebook Connect across a variety of our popular sites and services. Yahoo on Thursday started a slow roll-out of its integration with Facebook Connect by allowing users to import e-mail addresses from the social networking site.
According to the release in their blog Yahoo stated that “ While we’re still early in the partnership, we wanted to let you know about one new thing you can do with Facebook that we are rolling out over the next few days.”
In addition to importing your contacts from sites like Gmail and Windows Live Hotmail, starting this week you can now easily add your Facebook friends’ email addresses to your Yahoo contacts list,” Yahoo wrote in their blog post.
Yahoo announced in December that it would link up to Facebook Connect in 2010, a move that will eventually let members check their Facebook statusfrom the Yahoo Mail inbox, and access Facebook features across other Yahoo properties, like News, Answers, and Sports.
This first phase will allow you to access Facebook contacts on Yahoo. “Maybe you want to forward your cousin your airplane reservations on Yahoo Mail, but you’ve never emailed him before. Now you can type the first few letters of his name in Yahoo Mail and—presto!—his email address from his Facebook profile will appear in your email,” Yahoo said.
If this project was launched with support from Facebook, this could be part of a broader strategy of openness on Facebook’s part. However, does this mean that we could soon see services like Twitter and Google Buzz granted access to the same type of service?
For the moment it seems fuzzy. Contact imports are the critical viral component from most online products and I seriously doubt Facebook wants to grant competitors’ access to this type of functionality.