Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft Banding Together to Simplify Data Transfers

July 21, 2018

Four big tech companies have joined hands to simplify data transfers. Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft have announced open-source Data Transfer Project (DTP) that will make it easier for users to download and transfer their data between these services.

According to Damien Kieran, Data Protection Officer at Twitter, the new open-source initiative will create new tools to “enable people to freely move their information across the web.”

A white paper published by the group discusses a vision for creating a more flexible “data portability ecosystem” for users.

The announcement of the Data Transfer Project follows has come at a time when European Union (EU) has just introduced GDPR legislation in the region. The new act requires all companies to provide users with some kind of data download tool.

Moving data between two services is a complicated process most of the times. It is because every service uses different types of data with unique settings and privacy controls. The new DTP would however enable people to transfer their data, for example, photos from Instagram to Google Photos without a need to download and upload their library.

“Using your data from one service when you sign up for another still isn’t as easy as it should be. Today we’re excited to announce that we’re participating in the Data Transfer Project,” said Steve Satterfield, Privacy and Public Policy Director at Facebook in a statement.

The DTP will use two types of Adapters (import and export data adapters and authentication adapters) that would unravel propriety APIs into easily understandable data packets. These adapters will ensure verification and protection of users. The new system would cover multiple data types such as contacts, email, tasks, and calendars.

Individual data types, known as Data Models, will be grouped together under Verticals. For example, YouTube Music could have separate Data Models for music videos and playlists videos under its music Vertical.

The Data Transfer Project actually came into existence last year but it has been formally announced now.

“The future of portability will need to be more inclusive, flexible, and open. Our hope for this project is that it will enable a connection between any two public-facing product interfaces for importing and exporting data directly,” read the white paper.

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