Google is making it easier to backup and transfer your personal data between third-party services, in response to a GDPR investigation by Italy’s AGCM competition watchdog.
In a press release announcing the changes, the AGCM said that Google’s binding commitments will “ensure significant automation of the procedure available for data export,” and “improve the interoperability mechanism that makes the data available in the Google ecosystem accessible to third-party platforms.”
Google has made three commitments to resolve the investigation. The first two involve enhancing Google Takeout, while the third will introduce a new solution to “allow direct data portability from service to service” for authorized third-party operators, specifically regarding data generated through user activity on Google’s online search engine and YouTube platform.
The commitments seemingly build on Google’s existing work within the Data Transfer Initiative
As 9to5Google notes, the third commitment seems to build on work that Google is already undertaking within the Data Transfer Initiative — an open-source project backed by Meta, Apple, Google, and Microsoft that supports the direct transfer of user data between online platforms. The initiative already spawned a service-to-service transfer tool in 2020 that allows Facebook users to transfer their photos and videos to Google Photos without needing to manually download and re-upload the files.
The Google Takeout service already allows users to export their personal YouTube videos along with their search history and comments on the platform, for backup and preparation for export to third-party services. A “direct service-to-service portability solution” will make things easier and faster (no local downloads) for users and third-party operators. Google anticipates that this capability will be launched during the first quarter of 2024, and that third-party service providers will be able to test it “at least six months” prior to the official release.
The investigation began after Hoda, an Italian data export startup, accused Google of impeding its US users from sharing their personal data with other digital service platforms. By making Google’s proposed commitments binding, the AGCM has now closed its investigation.