Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter Announce "Data Transfer Project"

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter are making it easier to transfer your data between their websites

Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter are making it easier to transfer your data between their websites

Today, some of the biggest companies in the world announced that they're going to do something about it, announcing the Data Transfer Project.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter said Friday that they're participating in the Data Transfer Project to build an easier way for people to transfer data into and out of online services.

"For people on slow or low bandwidth connections, service-to-service portability will be especially important where infrastructure constraints and expense make importing and exporting data to or from the user's system impractical if not almost impossible", said Craig Shank, Vice President for Corporate Standards at Microsoft. For example, you might use an app where you share photos publicly, a social networking app where you share updates with friends, and a fitness app for tracking your workouts. So, you have to download your content from one service and upload it to another service. The companies said the Data Transfer Project is "still in very active development", and because it's still in the early stages, their efforts to improve the project might accidentally break something as well.

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Many of these companies already offer a way for users to download all of the data associated with their accounts, so the Data Transfer Project is the next step in allowing those users more control over it. But it uses service specific adapters to transfer that data into a common format, and then back into the new service's API. Unless you're willing to move things manually or completely abandon your existing data, you're discouraged from switching between services. With DTP, partner companies are creating a more straightforward approach to data portability.

What it means for you: Instead of uploading photos, events, contacts, or other personal information to a slew of websites, you will now be able to automatically access it on other platforms-no reuploading required. "This is not a positive collective experience for the people who use our services and we are keen to work through some of the challenges as an industry", Twitter said.

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