Google Takeout update could make transferring photos to iCloud a breeze

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

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Microsoft is quietly adding a killer new Windows 11 feature that will make fixing your PC a breeze

Microsoft has quietly added a handy new feature to an early version of Windows 11 that could make fixing problems with your PC much easier.

If you’ve been using PCs for a while, you’ll probably have found that if your computer starts acting weirdly and you can’t figure out why, reinstalling Windows can often fix things. However, this is usually a last resort, as the process can be time-consuming – and you have to make sure you have everything backed up, so you don’t lose important files.

As Neowin reports, Windows 11 build 25905 has rolled out to people who have signed up to the Windows Insider program to help test out early versions of upcoming Windows updates, and it comes with a new feature in the Recovery settings.

This new feature allows you to fix problems with your PC using Windows Update. It seems that if you select this option, Windows 11 will download the latest available update and do a ‘fresh’ install of that, while keeping your apps, files, and settings.

A great idea, but with some drawbacks

This new feature is probably one of the better ideas Microsoft has had, and if it works, it really could make fixing some Windows 11 problems a lot easier.

In the past, doing a clean install of Windows could be a right pain, as it essentially meant wiping your hard drive and starting again. In the bad old days, this also meant digging out your installation disks and activation code. If you lost those, then you were in trouble.

Even in later versions of Windows, such as Windows 11, which added an option to reset Windows, which was similar to doing a full reinstall but without much of the inconvenience, such as having to use installation media, it was still a lengthy process, as you had to reinstall many of the applications you use.

If this feature works as promised, the process should be even more streamlined, with all your apps and documents remaining untouched, and could mean the process of fixing any annoying problems is pretty fast and painless.

There are some drawbacks, however, as it appears to enable the feature you’ll need to boot into Windows 11 first – which isn’t much help if your PC is refusing to boot. It’s not clear if you can access this feature via safe mode either.

If the problem has been caused by the latest Windows 11 update, then reinstalling that update might not fix the problem, either.

Still, I’m always happy to see Microsoft introduce new ways to help fix problems, and while the company seems to have kept this new feature quiet, it could end up being one of the most useful additions in recent years. Hopefully, it’ll roll out to all users in the coming months.  

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