Stephen Baker

The Numerati
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Who leads data liberation movement? Google!?

September 14, 2009News

I'm still digesting this news from Google's new Data Liberation Front. Getting data out of services like Google and Facebook has been a vexing issue for years. Some even compare the Web services to the roach motel: Data can come in, but can't get out. So this seems significant to me.

Why would Google make this push? First, there's a growing anxiety about the privacy and the control of data. And I think that if they make it clear that your data is not stuck on their sites, more of us will use their services. It also gives them a leg up on competitors, who will be hardpressed to make the same offer. I think it would be a challenge for Facebook, since everyone's data is tied to everyone else's.

But one question not answered in Google's blog post: Even if they give us back our data, won't they keep a copy or two of it? I'm betting the answer is yes. After all, digital data is one thing you can share without giving it up.

By the way,
it's a weird day to be at BusinessWeek. The Times ran a story about the sale of the magazine today. (It made us look weaker than we are, in my opinion.) The deadline for bids is tomorrow. And the word seems to be that Bloomberg is the leading candidate to buy. But that could change from one day to the next.

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