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Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter join Data Transfer Project

22 July 2018

So for example, if you are moving your photos from Microsoft OneDrive to Google Photos, instead of having to spend hours downloading the pictures from OneDrive and then upload them to Google Photos, you could simply use of the DTP tech to transfer them without all the hassle.

To help billions of users manage their data and help them transfer that into and out of online services without privacy issues, four tech giants - Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter - on Friday announced to join the open source initiative called Data Transfer Project (DTP). This project will enable you to do the same. In its statement, Microsoft said that "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".

The collaboration is a recognition of the fact that people want more control over their data, and the Data Transfer Project is founded with the belief that portability and interoperability are central to innovation.

"The organisations involved with this project are developing tools that can convert any service's proprietary APIs to and from a small set of standardised data formats that can be used by anyone", said Google.

Why do this? While it is about making things easier for users, it's also related to GDPR compliance. This project would replace that process, and would theoretically make it quicker and easier to transfer files. When you switch to competing online services, you would like to have your existing data there as well.

Either way, the project isn't ready for the public yet - but the proposition is insanely clever, and something which should've existed for years. 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. Google's blog post notes that its prototype already supports data transfer for products including photos, mail, contacts, calendar, and tasks.

Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter join Data Transfer Project