Demand your data from Google and Facebook

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Tim Dobson sent me this over twitter for my consideration

Tim Berners-Lee says demand your data from Google and Facebook

World wide web inventor says personal data held online could be used to usher in new era of personalised services


Seems people have forgotten the work which took place during the late 00’s as one of the founders of the Data Portability group (which still exists by the way). The group was made up of quite a few people all over the world and we successfully convinced the likes of Yahoo, Plaxo, Myspace, Google, Facebook, etc to take data portability seriously.

The turning point was when Robert Scoble tried to take his contacts out of Facebook and into Plaxo. Interesting to see Tim Berners-Lee finally getting the point.

Although to be fair he goes much further thinking about a standard way to export data.

Right now both Google and Facebook have export features and each one is very different in structure. I personally regularly export my data from them every month along with my wordpress and others. I find Google’s Data Liberation centre the best because it gives you control across the board, but then again Google do have more data from me. But right now its all just for back up purposes.

The next step which Tim hints at is the ability to transform and import the data in a standardised way. To be honest its something we (data portability group) talked and thought about, but we were maybe a little too early. Now seems about right to think about the interchange of data more than ever.

There has always been space for startups to be brokers and transformers of the data. Someone like could make a killing in this space, specially if they start charging for use of their pipes (something I suggested while doing the xml pipeline stuff). Could make a nice sustainable business


Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and