Friday, November 12, 2010

What’s Mine Isn’t Yours: The Facebook-Google Spat Over Who Controls Your Data (Slate)

Excerpt from an insightful snapshot

I don't think Google did everything right here, but it does clearly have the moral high ground. The search company has long been a champion of users' rights to transfer their data elsewhere. It even has an internal group, the Data Liberation Front, whose mission is to help all of Google's product teams build easy-to-use export features. As a result, it's now easy to get your data out of nearly every Google service—Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Health, Google Reader, Orkut, and Blogger, among others. Google's change to its terms of service to prevent people from taking their data to Facebook was out of step with this history—if Google believes users should have the right to take their data anywhere, that has to include places that won't let the data back out. (There's also the question of Google's timing—why change the terms now, after years of not seeming to care about its users' taking their data to Facebook? Nobody knows for sure, but many in the tech world speculate that the move was a precursor to a new Google social network, whose path to success would be smoother if it was easy to export data from Facebook.)

What’s Mine Isn’t Yours (Slate)

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