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(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
data, open, portability


Google Helps People Get Their Data Out Of Google

from the the-antithesis-of-evil? dept

Too many companies these days are focused on ways to keep you locked-in somehow or another, so it's quite refreshing to find out that Google is now officially announcing its Data Liberation Front, which does exactly the opposite: systematically helping you to get your data out of Google's services so that it can be used elsewhere. Apparently the group has been working on this for a while, but has only just now been publicly "announced." It's difficult to think of too many other companies that would do the same thing. Of course, it's easy to think of independent or competing companies that might do this -- but we usually hear about the original company suing anyone who tries to free up data. Good move by Google to offer the service itself.

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  • identicon
    NonProfit, 14 Sep 2009 @ 9:54pm

    Many companies have provoked a Love/Hate relationship from me. Google is the first, with their wonderful apps, which has spawned one of Love & Fear. Perhaps this will ease the tension.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Sep 2009 @ 6:26am

    Google is getting scary... they have the money to do the right thing now which leads to more followers which leads to more money which leads to more followers.... the problem becomes when the visionaries at the top see all the unused power at their disposal and decide to exploit it. Good thing Google is primary an advertising agency and the underlining policy is to generate good PR to attract more customers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Alan Gerow (profile), 15 Sep 2009 @ 9:59am


      But now they're giving power back to its users. You can get your data out of Google ... that's power, to the people. They've seen how much power they have gained, and they're relinquishing some of it voluntarily so that you can take your e-mail, calendar events, docs, search history, etc, and go somewhere else if you like. They've unlocked the door so you can take your ball and go home if you don't like where Google is going.

      Other service providers will let you leave, but they'll keep your ball, forcing you to start all over with a new service.

      So, they're getting scary? Sounds like they're doing a lot to alleviate those fears by removing vendor lock-in. Microsoft has traditionally lived & breathed by vendor lock-in ... and in fact, early & continued Windows & Office successes could be attributed to vendor lock-in, because once you have a library of Windows applications and Office documents, it's tricky to simply move to a new vendor.

      Google has said, come & go as you please ... we're just sure you'll WANT to stay, not because you HAVE to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    chris (profile), 15 Sep 2009 @ 6:50am

    positively seussian

    this sounds like something from fox in socks:

    data freed from google is called liberated data.
    the tool to do the move is called a data ladle.
    when google isn't finished with a project the result is called a beta.

    SO aggregate result is the liberated data ladle beta.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    mklinker (profile), 15 Sep 2009 @ 7:11am

    Not just out

    Not that I'm complaining, I think this is a great move, but the Data Liberation Front is not just about getting your data out but also about getting data from other services into Google. So it seems to help them on that front too, which is perfectly fine from where I sit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Derek Reed, 15 Sep 2009 @ 10:58am

    Vendor Lock In versus Stickiness

    In my industry we use the term stickiness to describe the propensity for a customer to stay with a company of their own accord. I'd describe Vendor Lock In as a similar but different concept where the user has no choice.

    There are things we do to increase stickiness, such as offering multiple complimentary services, so that a user's desire to stick with one service causes them to stay with the company overall. Good customer service / PR / etc are also ways to increase stickiness. Increasing stickiness is good, makes users happy and provides long term gains.

    Vendor Lock In harms the business in 2 ways.

    1. It decreases desire to buy in the first place. As an example, compare buying a service for 19 dollars a month with a contract for 3 years, versus paying 19 dollars a month for no contract. Which is more desirable?
    2. It creates extreme user frustration when they do want to leave, causing them not to come back. Imagine you just paid 100 dollars to get out of a contract with a company, then they offer a new compelling deal a few months later, What's your interest level in returning to that same company?

    The only perceived benefit from vendor lock in is guaranteed returns, but that can often be an illusion when there truly are ways to get out, even if those ways are expensive. And even then, the greater the cost of leaving, the more harm done from point #1 there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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