Tech Giants Join Forces For Data Transfer Project

A new open-source initiative called the Data Transfer Project has brought together several unlikely tech giants.

Announcements today from Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter explain a joint project designed to move data between any two online providers. The common framework is built on open source code.

Google Software engineer Brian Willard and Google Product Manager Greg Fair described the project in a blog post. The two wrote that it allow users to “transfer data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and re-upload it.”

The prototype already supports data transfer for photos, mail, contacts, calendar and tasks through publicly available API from Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, Remember the Milk, and Smugmug.

The project was developed to test concepts of transferring specific types of user data between online services.

Facebook's blog post focused on giving people more control of their data that might transfer between any two services. The responsibility for protecting personal data is moving more toward the individual and not the company.



For example, per Steve Satterfield, privacy and public policy director, Facebook, an individual might use an app when they share photos publicly, a social networking app where they share updates with friends, and a fitness app for tracking workouts.

“People increasingly want to be able to move their data among different kinds of services like these, but they expect the companies that help them do that will also protect their data,” he wrote, explaining that these are the types of issues the Data Transfer Project will address.

Microsoft's post called for more companies to become part of the effort. The project is designed to encourage broad adoption. “We encourage others in the industry to join us in advancing a broader view of the data portability ecosystem,” wrote Craig Shank, vice president for corporate standards at Microsoft.

He explains the project aims to use strong privacy and security standards, focus on user data and not enterprise, and respect all.

The code for the project is available on GitHub, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year.

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