Google, Microsoft, Facebook, And Twitter Form Open Source Alliance To Facilitate Data Sharing

If you use an app for a while like Facebook or Twitter and you decide that you want to give a different app a try, trying to transfer your data and contacts can often times be a chore. The Data Transfer Project (DTP) wants to make that migration of data much easier by allowing users to move their content, contacts, and other data across apps.

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You might think of this as a pie-in-the-sky dream, but the Data Transfer Project has some of the biggest companies in the tech world as members. Those companies include Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft. Not only is the goal of the DTP to make it easier for you to download your data from an app, but it also wants to make it easy to upload that data elsewhere. The tool isn't ready for use now, but it is in "active development" according to the DTP.

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The goal is an industry standard for data portability. Such a standard would force apps to compete on merits and usefulness rather than trapping users there simply because it's too hard to get the same data from scratch elsewhere. It's surprising to see Facebook as a founding member of the DTP; that social network has been historically very controlling of user's data. Opening the door and making it easy for unhappy users to leave the social network might push many to do just that.

DTP was formed in 2017 with the stated goal of creating "an open-source, service-to-service data portability platform so that all individuals across the web could easily move their data between online service providers whenever they want." The DTP says that portability and interoperability are "central to innovation" and that making it easier for users to choose among services improves competition and empowers users to try new services.

DTP will build a common framework with open-source code that can connect any two online service providers allowing users to initiate their own data port between two platforms. The tech will use the services' existing APIs and authorization mechanisms to access data. The data is transferred into a common format and then back into the new services' API. While DTP isn’t ready for prime time, users with their own API keys can try them out with downloads from GitHub here and here.


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