Starting next year, Google will be making it easier to transfer your user information to third-party services using its Takeout export tool.
This update comes at the tail end of an investigation by the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM), a market competition regulator. In total, there will be three new changes made to Google’s service. Although we don’t know exactly what the changes will be, the AGCM does mention a few things. Two of them will be “supplementary solutions” to Google Takeout, giving people a way to export their information to “third-party operators.” The third “commitment”, as it’s referred to, will “allow direct data portability from service to service.” That last one specifically relates to moving data generated from a person’s Google Search history and YouTube.
To give some backstory, back in 2022 the AGCM alleged Google had been abusing its dominant position in the tech industry to collect “large amounts of [user] data” and putting up “obstacles to interoperability” in sharing information with third parties. One of the complaints said Takeout was “extremely complicated” to use – something they claim was by design as it “discourages [people] from porting their data elsewhere.” In response, Google proposed the three features that we mentioned earlier as changes it could make to appease regulators; all of which the Authority accepted.
Expanding data portability
Regarding the direct data portability feature, 9to5Google states it sounds a lot like the Data Transfer Initiative (formerly known as the Data Transfer Project). If you don’t know what that is, the Data Transfer Initiative consists of Apple, Meta, and Google coming together to expand data portability to users. The classic example, as given by 9to5Google, is imagine being able to transfer images from Google Photos to iCloud without having to manually do anything. The companies handle all the heavy lifting. This could preserve precious bandwidth while also being much faster than downloading gigabytes of content.
It’s unknown exactly when everything in the Google Takeout update will be released, but we won’t have to wait long for the direct data portability tool. The tech giant told the Authority the feature will officially launch sometime during “the first quarter of 2024.” However, we might see it even sooner as third-party platforms can test an early version of the tool “six months before its actual release.” Possibly by October, at the earliest.
If you don’t want to wait until next year for the Google Takeout upgrade, check out TechRadar’s list of the best data migration tools for 2023.