Posted September 15, 2009 11:56 am by with 6 comments

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DL JPEGHave you ever experienced a time where you had some important data stored in a SaaS (software as a service) application like e-mail or CRM and you wanted your data out of the application? Sounds simple enough, right? After all it is your data? Often times this turns into a process / project that makes little sense to the end user who is indignant that they can’t easily get their own data. The provider, however, has every reason to either make the process difficult or just stall because it gives them time to make a ‘save’.

So who should rescue the day when it comes to the freedom of all data in the known universe? Why Google of course! Doing their best Rage Against the Machine impression they have launched a site promoting the Data Liberation Front. Considering all of the talk these days about taking back power and control blah, blah, blah it’s interesting that they present this in a manner that looks rebellious in a Che Guevara kinda way. I suppose it gets people’s attention but …..

The Data Liberation Front is an engineering team at Google whose singular goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products. We do this because we believe that any data that you create in (or import into) a product is your own. We help and consult other engineering teams within Google on how to “liberate” their products. This is our mission statement:

Users own the data they store in any of Google’s products.
Our team’s goal is to give users greater control by making it
easier for them to move data in and out.

Google is becoming very adept at addressing their shortcomings in a way that is both self-effacing (they admit they are not perfect in this mission yet) and preemptive. They have become masters of seeing where there may be some ‘evil’ and making a big deal about eradicating it. Very interesting indeed and, honestly, pretty darn smart on their part.

To take that to the next level they address the very same information in a much less cool and revolutionary but more practical blog. In fact, the blog looks to be the place moving forward to get all the latest on Google’s progress to not lock-in their users.

We expect to use this blog to give tips and tricks on getting data in and out of Google products, as well as kudos and reviews for services supporting rich import/export features. We think that we can provide simple solutions for liberating/managing your data stored in the cloud, and let you voice your complaints about services that aren’t properly liberated.

So rather than looking like Fi-Fo-Fi-Fum giant trying to corner the data information and dissemination market through book copyright deals and search engine dominance Google comes out with the look of data revolutionaries. Don’t worry everyone, Google’s got your best interest at heart and is fighting for your rights. Ultimately you may never need to worry about data liberation at all. Probably because they’ll have it all anyway. Looks like all that time hanging out in Washington, DC may be rubbing off on them.

  • google is the man. Hopefully they never become evil like in the movies.

  • I wish Google was rebellious in a “Che Guevara kind of way”.

    Hasta la Victoria Siempre !

  • Google is the boos of SE 😛
    .-= James coonou´s last blog ..CyberPower Gamer Xtreme range Overclocked Core i5 and Core i7 Gaming PCs =-.

  • well, use VSS (Visual source safe) for all data protection 🙂

    And what do you have to say about recent even when Gmail was down?
    .-= Gogogle´s last blog ..YouTube Office Pictures =-.

  • ehhha

    Yes, I do data entry freelance projects

  • I applaud Google’s promises of data portability. But I’m struck by Google policies that exactly and intentionally impede data portability — especially for the one product where Google makes, literally, billions of dollars.

    Recall that Google’s AdWords API Terms & Conditions impose an arbitrary and indefensible restriction on advertisers’ efforts to copy ads and campaigns out of Google AdWords, i.e. to begin to use competing ad platforms also. I critiqued this problem last year in a piece on my site ( and in Congressional testimony ( pages 4-5). But despite the lofty rhetoric of DLF, Google has done nothing to address these problems.

    It would be trivially easy to address the problem I have identified: Simply delete the offending sentences from the API Terms & Conditions. That needs zero engineering time and, really, zero involvement by DLF. But that would cost Google money — letting advertisers try out competing ad platforms, and potentially reducing advertisers’ spending at Google. No wonder Google is in no rush to open the API — but advertisers can and should demand better.
    .-= Ben Edelman´s last blog ..How Google and Its Partners Inflate Measured Conversion Rates and Increase Advertisers’ Costs =-.