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Your Data or Google's? Some Small Progress

Network World: Google CEO: Take your data and run. Google wants to make the information it stores for its users easily portable so they can export it to a competing service if they are dissatisfied, the company’s CEO said Tuesday.

The company’s behavior to date does not support this new stance, but it will be helpful if Google is truly moving this way.

Big problem, though: Google will continue to reserve the right to keep the data you’ve stored in its servers forever, and use that data as it sees fit.

This is an issue for citizen-media creators in a larger sense. When you upload your videos to places like Google, YouTube (now part of Google) and other sites; when a blog-hosting company keeps your blog for you; when you entrust what you’ve created to others — it’s vital to ensure that your data is yours. Your ISP doesn’t own it. You do.

Google takes the position that while it’s your data, Google has the right to hang onto it essentially forever, and then to mine the data and use it to create better advertising. I find that more than a little creepy, and I think you should, too.

When Google lets customers actually move their data to a new place — that is, move it, not copy it — that will be a corporate stance truly worth celebrating.

3 Comments on “Your Data or Google's? Some Small Progress”

  1. #1 Luis
    on Nov 9th, 2006 at 4:51 am

    It generally does, though; you can get your gmail out over POP (which for a long time was a pay service at other free email providers); you can get your calendar out over ical; you can easily switch email addresses and forward with gmail (try forwarding your yahoo mail anywhere- good luck); you can get everything out of google docs (well, the writely half) as open standard .odf files.

  2. #2 Seth Finkelstein
    on Nov 9th, 2006 at 11:19 am

    I am more cynical about Google’s motives here:

    Data Export Means Data *IMPORT*

  3. #3 netZoo ~ WOOZradio » Google and YOU
    on Nov 11th, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    [...] Personally, I’d hate to be skeptical, but it’s a very reasonable question, especially as Dan Gillmor warns in response to this GOOG profile by Network World: Google wants to make the information it stores for its users easily portable so they can export it to a competing service if they are dissatisfied, the company‚Äôs CEO said Tuesday. [...]