Apple has announced it is joining Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter in the Data Transfer Project (DTP), according to a report from The Verge.
The project was started about a year ago as a way to move data between different platforms. Google said in a blog post at the time that the project would let users “transfer data directly from one service to another, without needing to download and reupload it.”
Apple will develop interoperable systems for transporting data out and into the cloud. There are also a few alt social networks working on the endeavor, such as Tim Berners-Lee’s Solid project, which will help with importing and exporting contacts, and Mastodon for the import and export of posts.
“Users should be in control of their data on the web … part of this is the ability to move their data. Currently, users can download a copy of their data from most services, but that is only half the battle in terms of moving their data. DTP aims [to make moving] data between providers significantly easier for users,” the project said on its site.
So far, the project has mainly involved back-end coding to help tools like Google Takeout and Facebook’s Access Your Information work together.
The information can be downloaded directly to a hard drive, but the goal is to eventually port the data to another service without an intermediary. This would help lessen the chance of leaked data.
Although the project updates information regularly, it is transparent about the fact that the process is slow. “We are continually making improvements that might cause things to break occasionally. So as you are trying things, please use it with caution and expect some hiccups,” the site said.
There is also the potential that even though everything has so far been on the back end, more person-facing products will soon come to fruition.
Google said these might arrive in as little as a matter of months. “We’re really encouraged by the progress the Data Transfer Project has made since we announced it last year, and look forward to rolling out our first user-facing features in the coming months,” said Jessie Chavez, Google’s lead for the Data Transfer Project.