You could always try migrating your current list of Facebook cohorts to your new-found greener pastures, which is exactly what the Facebook Friend Exporter for Chrome aims to do. Of course, Facebook isn’t too pleased about this and it’s become somewhat of a cat-and-mouse game. The extension’s developer, Mohamed Mansour, has promised “I will maintain this version. Just bear with me” – so it looks like the battle is on!
At the time of writing this only works if you are using the English language version of Facebook. If you’re not used to browsing in English you could always change your language in your Account Settings, then switch back when you’re done.
Cat & Mouse
Grabbing your entire army of Facebook friends wasn’t so hard when Mansour originally released his extension only hours after Google+ opened up. All that was necessary was a trip to the Chrome Web Store with the extension easily installable with a click or two.
Now however Facebook has blocked Mansour’s original technique, prompting him to comment via Google+:
This is what happens when your extension becomes famous :sigh: Facebook just removed the emails from their mobile site. They implemented a throttling mechanism that if you visit your ~5 friends in a short period of time, it will remove the email field.
No worries, a new version is on the making … I am bloody annoyed now, because this proves Facebook owns every users data on Facebook. You don’t own anything!
Annoyed yet? Well Mansour has promised to maintain his extension, and you’ll only need to do this once (successfully) in order to port your groupies. Let’s get started…
Installing The Extension
As this is a game of cat and mouse, there’s every chance that the mouse might get ahead (in this instance Mansour) and the longer, slightly more complex technique I’m about to explain might not be necessary.
You can grab the extension directly from the Google Chrome Web Store, and it’s definitely worth clicking Install to see whether or not the current version is working. It takes a few seconds, and if it doesn’t work you can disable the extension directly from your Extensions page in the Chrome settings menu.
To test it out, skip to the Exporting Your Friends section of this article now! If it didn’t work, welcome back – here’s the other way.
If this version is not working then Mansour also maintains the source code on GitHub, and this is your key to downloading the very latest versions that stand a better chance of actually working!
First visit Mansour’s GitHub, click Downloads and choose either TAR.GZ or .ZIP archive format. Naturally, it doesn’t matter which you click provided you can open the archive afterwards. Once you’ve downloaded the file, extract the folder within the archive to a location of your choice (somewhere you’ll remember).
Next open up Google Chrome and enter “chrome://extensions“ (without quotation marks) into your address bar at which point you’ll be presented with a list of extensions currently installed. Click the Developer mode drop-down button on this page and choose Load unpacked extension.
Choose the folder you extracted only a moments ago (not the folder contents or any individual files, the whole folder) and the Facebook Friend Exporter should install itself and appear above the rest of your extensions. Good job, you’ve installed from source!
Exporting Your Friends
Next you’ll want to visit Facebook and see whether it’s working or not. If all went well you should hopefully see a new Export friends! next to the usual Home and Profile buttons. For this to work you will need to be on your Friends page at facebook.com/friends/edit once logged in.
Click Export friends! and a new tab should open with a disclaimer and terms of service for you to approve. Check the box and hit Let’s get started! to reveal your friends list. Finally it’s a case of one last click of let’s start! before Facebook Friend Exporter does its thing.
The extension will begin crunching and notify you accordingly when a contact has been copied. You are reminded to leave Facebook alone during the duration of the process. Once completed you’ll be invited to download your Facebook contacts as a .CSV (comma separated value) file or import it directly into Gmail under the heading “Imported From Facebook”.
You also have one last chance to uncheck any friends you simply don’t want to include in Google+ before you proceed.
Once imported to Gmail your contacts will appear on your Circles page, allowing you to sort through and add at your own free will, with Google firing out notifications to selected parties.
Unfortunately this migration process is touch-and-go and fairly fiddly in places. The extension itself might take a while to complete the process but once you’re done your next task is convincing your friends that Google+ is the way to go. If you really want them to get the message you could always set your profile picture as this article’s introduction image, something that’s been doing the rounds recently.
What do you think about Google+? How about Facebook blocking this tool? Have your say in the comments.