Google recently announced that it would restrict a feature of importing Google email contacts in other social networks. Of course, this move is targetted to restrict Facebook from importing contacts from Google.
Additionally Google started to control the damage with this new restriction. However, it is took late? Rather, more blunt question would be, is Google transitioning from Openness to protectionism? May be. More from the fact that Openness is a tool that businesses use only when it is benefitial to them. It’s true for countries too. For example, USA would direct other nations to open policies, relax restrictions and remove subsidies however it would also selectively do the same when certain businesses get impacted.
Anyway, in this case, Google is not falling back to protectionism but it may be retaliating to Facebook’s dinal to reciprocate a similar feature that would enable Google to import Facebook contacts. So, it is sort of retaliation.
Anyway, the race for consumers is going to be more intense. Social networking sites would find ways to avoid consumer leakage. This is for their own servival, especially when every one is trying to do everything that others do. This is important so as to get consumer hooked up to their portals and indirectly pouring in ad revenue.