Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook team up on new data transfer project | Computing

Some of the biggest tech companies in the world want to make it a little easier to transfer your data between services. Google, Twitter, Microsoft, and Facebook have all teamed up for a new initiative called the Data Transfer Project, which is aimed at helping users more easily transfer content, contacts, and more.

The Data Transfer Project has revealed its plans for a new open-source data portability platform that any online service can join. That could be very helpful for users — plenty of services allow you to download your data, but not many then let you upload it into different accounts.

Google announced the project in a blog post, describing it as a way to transfer data directly between services, essentially meaning that users don’t have to worry about downloading and re-uploading it. Microsoft also called for other companies to join the project, noting that it could be central to better competition — after all, if there’s an industry standard for data portability, companies could instead have to compete on offering useful services, instead of forcing users to stick with their services or risk losing data.

If it reaches its full potential, the project could change the tech industry. Imagine being able to easily switch to a new music streaming service while being able to bring your playlist with you. Or being able to switch to a new mobile operating system without the need to start from scratch.

Of course, there’s one major tech company missing from the initiative — Apple. While that’s certainly not surprising, it is still a little frustrating. Still, the initiative is very much in its infancy, and we could certainly see more companies jump on board.

The initiative could also be groundbreaking for startups. Companies like Google have an advantage in that they already have lots of data on their customers. New companies, however, have no such luxury — but if a user transfers their data to a new service, it could make users feel more at home thanks to the ease of adopting a new service.

We’ll have to see how the initiative evolves, and if more companies jump on board. In the meantime, you can check out the new group’s white paper for more information.

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