A two-year old project by Google engineers working across departments to enable users to remove their data from Google services has been opened to the public in the form of a website with import and export instructions for Google services the team has helped “liberate”.
Called the Data Liberation Front, the project team said in a Google blog post today that it has “liberated” more than half of the major Google services. “In the upcoming months,” writes project lead Brian Fitzpatrick, “we also plan to liberate Google Sites and Google Docs (batch-export).”
Google deserves big accolades for working to make data export easy and for making all the information readily accessible. Hey Facebook – are you working on something similar to this or are you hoping that the borders of your users’ data will remain unbreached by the Data Liberation Front?
Making sure the door isn’t locked if users choose to leave a service is a required, if less exciting, part of the data portability movement. Just as important as a bulk dump of user data is the option for users to easily and securely port data online from service to service for immediate personalization based on past activity at a legacy site. Google is a market leader in that kind of data portability as well.
The information on DataLiberation.org does not include instructions for deleting your data from Google’s servers. The project is taking suggestions for acts of liberation on a Google Moderator page and is publishing updates on Twitter.