I recently wrote about an experiment a blogger documented, in which he tried to “quit” Google. His aim was to move all of his services to non-Google equivalents, a task that Google claims to support through its Data Liberation Front.
In an update to that story, this week Google announced Google Takeout, a service designed to support their Data Liberation Front’s goal of making it easy for Google users to port all of their data to competing services, if the users wish to leave Google.
This open data concept is a good one, especially as more and more online services move to cloud-based models of delivery. By allowing users to liberate their data, cloud services will avoid one of the greatest criticisms they face today, digital lock-in. Most cloud services, you see, don’t allow users to liberate their data, nor do they want to, making Google somewhat unique in this respect.
What is most interesting about Google’s announcement is that they are also claiming that Takeout will work with their “super secret” social networking site, still in development, called “Plus”.
If that’s true, users will have good reason to consider switching from Facebook to Plus. Facebook currently has no plans to allow users to port their data to another service.
Facebook might want to read the writing on the wall and move towards an open data model. Forced confinement has a funny way of making people crave freedom.