Facebook, Google, Twitter and more sign up to data-sharing project

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In an effort to help users move data more easily between platforms, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have announced a new standards initiative called the Data Transfer Project.

Currently the system supports data transfers for mail, contacts, calendars, photos and tasks using publicly available APIs from Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram and other services. While these transfers can often be completed through other means, the companies behind the project hope that it could one day replace conventional APIs.

The Data Transfer Project's open-source code is available on GitHub along with a white paper which explains the project in greater detail. The project's code is made up of adapters which allow proprietary APIs to exchange information with one another to share data between services and its engineers have built a system to encrypt the data as it moves between platforms.

Facebook's Privacy and Public Policy Director Steve Satterfield explained some of the kinds of problems the Data Transfer Project hopes to solve in a blog post, saying:

“Moving your data between any two services can be complicated because every service is built differently and uses different types of data that may require unique privacy controls and settings. For example, you might use an app where you share photos publicly, a social networking app where you share updates with friends, and a fitness app for tracking your workouts. People increasingly want to be able to move their data among different kinds of services like these, but they expect that the companies that help them do that will also protect their data.” 

We will likely hear more on the Data Sharing Project as its work progresses and with Microsoft calling on more companies to join the effort, this will likely happen sooner rather than later. 

Image Credit: Janneke Staaks / Flickr