That’s right, folks—Google has enough social network-like information on your friends and contacts to roll out the data portability, or at least for just your friend list.
The reasoning behind the new open standard, Portable Contacts, is that many websites like to invite your friends to come participate. (Hey, it’s a party!) But when you give them your Gmail login and password (WHY?), they can scrape your whole contacts list (and, um, lots of other stuff).
So to protect your data, Google’s making it possible for sites to access Google contact lists securely and with your permission. Portable Contacts is built on Open Social’s REST data format and OAuth authorization.
On the plus side, Google’s not determined to be a walled garden with your friend network. On the other hand, do we really have to give them access to everything?