Google is making significant efforts to improve data portability and transfer services following an investigation by Italy’s AGCM competition watchdog. The investigation was prompted by an accusation from Italian data export startup Hoda, which claimed that Google hindered US users from sharing their personal data with other digital service platforms. In response to the investigation’s findings, Google has committed to three measures to enhance data export procedures and interoperability with third-party platforms.
To achieve the first commitment, Google will enhance its existing data export tool, Google Takeout. This service allows users to back up and prepare their personal YouTube videos, search history, and comments for export to third-party services. The proposed enhancements aim to automate the data export procedure and make it more user-friendly, streamlining the process for users and third-party operators.
The second commitment focuses on improving the interoperability mechanism to enable authorized third-party operators to access and transfer data generated through user activity on Google’s search engine and YouTube platform. By enhancing data transfer capabilities, Google aims to facilitate easier data access and transfer between its ecosystem and other platforms, promoting seamless data interoperability.
The third commitment introduces a new solution for direct data portability from service to service. Authorized third-party operators will be able to transfer user data generated through Google’s search engine and YouTube platform directly to their own services without manual intervention. This direct service-to-service portability solution promises a faster and more efficient way for users and third-party operators to transfer data. Google plans to launch this capability in the first quarter of 2024, preceded by a testing period for third-party service providers at least six months before the official release.
These commitments align with Google’s ongoing work within the Data Transfer Initiative, a collaborative open-source project supported by Meta, Apple, Google, and Microsoft. The initiative aims to facilitate direct data transfer between online platforms. In 2020, it resulted in the development of a service-to-service transfer tool enabling Facebook users to transfer their photos and videos to Google Photos without manual intervention. Google’s third commitment builds on this work, reinforcing the company’s dedication to data portability and interoperability.
In summary, Google’s commitments to improve data portability and transfer services are in response to the AGCM investigation. Through enhancing Google Takeout, improving data interoperability, and introducing the direct service-to-service portability solution, Google aims to streamline the transfer of personal data between its platforms and third-party services. These enhancements will benefit users and third-party operators and ensure compliance with GDPR regulations.
Q: What is Google Takeout? A: Google Takeout is a service provided by Google that allows users to export their personal data from various Google products, including YouTube, search history, and comments, for backup and transfer to other platforms.
Q: What is the Data Transfer Initiative? A: The Data Transfer Initiative is an open-source project supported by Meta, Apple, Google, and Microsoft. It aims to facilitate the direct transfer of user data between online platforms, promoting data portability and interoperability.
Q: When will the direct service-to-service portability solution be available? A: Google plans to launch the direct service-to-service portability solution in the first quarter of 2024. Third-party service providers will have the opportunity to test it at least six months prior to the official release.
Q: How will these enhancements benefit users? A: These enhancements will make it easier for users to export and transfer their personal data between Google’s platforms and third-party services. The process will be more automated, efficient, and user-friendly, providing greater control over personal data.
Q: What prompted the investigation by Italy’s AGCM competition watchdog? A: The investigation was initiated following an accusation by Italian data export startup Hoda, which claimed that Google impeded its US users from sharing their personal data with other digital service platforms.
Q: How will these commitments improve data interoperability? A: The commitments by Google will enhance the mechanism that makes data available in the Google ecosystem accessible to third-party platforms. This will improve data interoperability and facilitate seamless data transfer between Google and other platforms.
Q: Are these enhancements in compliance with GDPR regulations? A: Yes, these enhancements align with the principles of GDPR, which aim to promote data portability and give users more control over their personal data. Google’s commitments address the concerns raised in the AGCM investigation and demonstrate their dedication to compliance with GDPR regulations.
Q: Can users transfer data generated through Google’s search engine and YouTube directly to other platforms? A: Yes, with the introduction of the direct service-to-service portability solution, users will be able to transfer data generated through Google’s search engine and YouTube directly to other authorized third-party platforms without the need for manual downloads and re-uploads.
First reported by The Verge.
Olivia is the Editor in Chief of Blog Herald.