The combined knowledge and resources of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter have joined forces to simplify data transfer between apps. The Data Transfer Project (DTP) will make it easier for users to transfer their data between the four services. The initiative has the goal of creating new tools that allow people to move their data around the web with fewer restrictions and greater ease than is currently possible. At this point, everything is still very new, and a dialogue has been opened to get the process started.
Once completed, according to Engadget, the DTP will have a series of adapters that turn proprietary APIs into data packets that can be read by each platform. This will be done using import and export adapters which will facilitate data movement, without compromising security or requiring a manual transfer. This means you will no longer have to download everything from your Flickr account, for example, and then re-upload all of it to Google photos, or vise-versa. Eventually, you will be able to transfer messages, videos, music libraries, and basically any form of data you have between services. For people that aren’t married to using just one platform, this is going to be a game-changing innovation.
Microsoft asked for more companies to come forward and join the project on their official blog on the basis that not being on board is akin to failing to progress. Microsoft and Google engineers have done the vast majority of the coding for the project according to The Verge. Google product manager, Greg Fair, says that DTP was born of necessity. While Google was working on ways to move data more efficiently, they could only solve their portion of the problem. It was necessary to have more people on board working from varied angles to make the level of connectivity and portability they are striving for possible.
The Verge pointed out that although most platforms do have a data download tool, once that download is done, the options are very limited as to what you can do with it regarding transfers. At least among participating services, the DTP would handle that issue. While DTP is currently open source, that may not always be the case according to Fair.
“In the long term, we want there to be a consortium of industry leaders, consumer groups, government groups, but until we have a reasonable critical mass, it’s not an interesting conversation.”
Even in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica problem, and data security and oversight being paramount in the minds of many, it looks like DTP will move forward and have broad support according to comments Open Technology Institute director Kevin Bankston on The Verge. Damien Kieran, Data Protection Officer for Twitter, was in agreement with Bankston as reported by Engadget.
“This will take time but we are very excited to work with innovators and passionate people from other companies to ensure we are putting you first. Fundamentally this is about pushing towards a more open and dynamic internet.”