Written by lifehacker
You may not be ready to ditch Facebook for good, but now that you’ve had a chance to kick the tires on Google+, you might be ready to make it your go-to social network. The problem: You’ve built up a lot of friends, photos, videos, and other data on Facebook over the years, and you don’t want to simply lose all that data. Here’s how to migrate it all from Facebook to Google+.
Photo remixed from an original by Shutterstock.
When Google+ came out, it’s success was very much up in the air (remember Google Buzz?). However, it seems a lot of people have already thrown themselves into Google+ full force—Facebook may have 750 million users, but Google+ has already crossed the 20 million user milestone in only 30 days. If you’re ready to give it a shot as your main network, here’s what you need to do.
Migrate Your Friends
A social network is nothing without a group of friends with whom to talk, so the first thing you’ll want to do is migrate your friends. Not everyone you know is going to be on Google+ yet, but it’s a good idea to make sure you don’t leave anybody out—and you can always send those other late adopters an invite to encourage them.
The easiest way to migrate your Facebook friends is to import them through a Yahoo email address. I know that sounds awful, but hear me out: While a few people have created browser extensions and other migration methods, Facebook shuts them down pretty quickly, since they don’t like non-partners pulling friend data. In addition, the non-Yahoo methods usually add your Facebook friends to Google Contacts, which you probably don’t want. You may not have a Yahoo account, but that’s what makes this method great—no need to fill up your main address book with Facebook junk. Plus, it really does only take a few minutes.
To do this, head to mail.yahoo.com and click the Create New Account button (if you already have a Yahoo or Flickr account, you can skip this step). Once you’ve created an account, sign in and head to the Contacts tab. Click on “Import Contacts” and choose the Facebook option. You should now see all your Facebok friends in your Yahoo address book.
Lastly, head to Google+ and go to the Circles tab. Click “Find and Invite” and click the Yahoo button. It’ll add all your Yahoo Contacts (or Facebook Friends, in this case), to the Find and Invite page and you can add your Facebook friends to your circles. I, for one, was shocked at how many of my friends were already using Google+ without me knowing.
Migrate Your Photos
Migrating your photos is ridiculously easy with the previously mentioned Move Your Photos Chrome extension. Install it, click on its icon in the extension bar, and log in to your Facebook account. Select the photos you want to transfer and click the upload button at the very bottom of the page. You’ll see the progress in the lower right-hand corner. Don’t log out while it works, just let it do its thing.
When it’s done, you’ll see those albums in Google+. By default, they won’t be public, and you can adjust each album’s privacy settings by going into them and clicking on the “Edit” link under “Visible To”.
If you don’t want to use Chrome, you can grab a similar extension for Firefox, but you have to transfer albums one by one. If you have Chrome installed, I recommend using the Chrome extension just this once because it’s much faster.
Migrate Your Videos
The only way to migrate your videos, unfortunately, is to download the entirety of your Facebook data and re-upload them. To do this, head to Account > Account Settings, and scroll down to “Download Your Information”. Hit the “learn more” link and hit he Download button. It will take awhile to gather your info, but you’ll receive an email when it’s done, and you can download a ZIP file full of your photos, videos, and profile information.
Strangely, when I did this, one of my two videos was missing from the “videos” folder in the ZIP file. However, I was still able to download that video from Facebook by installing the Video Download Helperextension for Firefox, navigating to the video you want to download, playing it, and clicking the arrow next to Download Helper’s icon in the add-on bar.
Once you’ve wrangled all the videos you want to move to Google+, you’ll just have to upload them one by one. Head into Google+, click on your profile, and go to “Videos”. Hit the “Upload New Videos” link and re-upload your videos to your Google+ profile.
Update and View Both Networks at Once
Now that all your data’s been migrated, you can enjoy using Google+ as your main social network. However, chances are you still have a few friends on Facebook you want to keep up with. The best way to do this is with the Start Google Plus extension for both Chrome and Firefox. Once you install it, you’ll see a Facebook and Twitter icon in the upper right-hand corner, which you can click on to connect your other accounts. Once your Facebook account’s been linked, every status update you make on Google+ will have the option of posting to Facebook as well, just by clicking on the Facebook icon. It’ll take with it any links, pictures, or other data that the status contains.
Start Google Plus will also plug your Facebook feed into your Google+ feed, so you don’t even need to check Facebook anymore. Just check your Google+ feed, and it’ll show you all of Facebook’s news feed as well, with links to comment if you so desire.
If you prefer to not use an extension, you can also update your status on both networks at once using Facebook’s “Upload via Email” feature. Just head to Facebook’s mobile page, copy your Upload via Email email address, and add it to its own “Facebook” circle on Google+. From now on, when you update your status on Google+, you can just include your Facebook circle to send that status to Facebook as well. This method isn’t perfect, however: it’ll only work with statuses of up to 50 characters, and it doesn’t work with photos. However, it does work over mobile, which is nice, and without any extensions.
It’s also worth mentioning the previously mentioned Google+Facebook extension. While it’s a much easier way to update both statuses at once, it’s been hit by a bit of controversy, which you can read more about over at our post and on this Reddit thread. The company has responded to accusations of malware injection, and it seems more accidental than something that was actually of malicious intent, but we still recommending you use this at your own risk. The “update by email” method is still the safest, but this is a possibility as well. With other extensions out there like Start Google Plus, there’s really no reason to take the risk.
There isn’t a foolproof, one-step way to migrate your data, but this should help make the process quite a bit easier for you Google+ fans out there. Got any of your own migration tips to share? Let us know in the comments.
Bonus: Up at sunrise, taking my favorite photo