On Friday, Google revealed the Data Transfer Project, an open source initiative launched in partnership with Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook that could allow users to move data among the services “without needing to download and re-upload it,” according to a blog post.

Google initially outlined plans for the project in a May 11 post about its GDPR preparations. At the time, the project was described as a tool for developers to move their data between specific services, with an explanation that the code was posted to GitHub.

To make the transfer feasible, the companies involved with the project are working on conversion tools to “convert any service’s proprietary APIs to and from a small set of standardized data formats that can be used by anyone,” the post said. This will make it possible to transfer such data, as long as the two providers are using industry-standard infrastructure and authorization tools.

SEE: Cloud Data Storage Policy (Tech Pro Research)

Adapters have been created for seven service providers, addressing five types of consumer data, according to the post. Google also mentioned that this number of solutions indicates a possibility that the project could be scaled in the future.

One outcome of the project is that users could get a boost in flexibility and control when it comes to their data, the post said. Users will be able to import data into any participating service, including those build on cloud infrastructure.

“Services will benefit as well, as they will be able to compete for users that can move their data more easily,” the post said, highlighting how the project could impact companies.

The service providers involved will have to agree to the data transfer, and then the users will have to authenticate the connected accounts. The credentials will be encrypted, the post said. Additional security protects the transfers as well.

“The protocol uses a form of perfect forward secrecy where a new unique key is generated for each transfer,” the post said. “Additionally, the framework allows partners to support any authorization mechanism they choose. This enables partners to leverage their existing security infrastructure when authorizing accounts.”

Interested developers can find the open source code and more information about the project here. Google goes more in depth on its approach to data portability in this whitepaper.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Facebook are partnering on an open source project allowing data transfer between their services.
  • The Data Transfer Project gives users more control over their data, and could inspire more competition among service providers.