Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Matt Cutts on "Not trapping users' data"

Matt Cutts had a great post the other day about how Google is making good on Eric Schmidt's promise to not trap user data. Eric had spoken out at last year's Web 2.0 conference against web companies locking users in by preventing them from taking their personal data somewhere else.
Schmidt was asked if users could get all of their search history and export it to Yahoo. “We would like to do that, as long as it is authenticated….If users can switch it keeps us honest.”
Matt looks at various Google products and finds that most of them do allow you to export your data, including Search, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Blogger, Google AdWords, Google Groups, and a few others.

Matt also mentions Google Talk, noting that the service supports the open XMPP protocol and therefore can be accessed by any XMPP client. That's definitely a big positive; in addition, you can export your contacts as a CSV file from Gmail (go to "All Contacts", click on "Export"). However, there's no easy way right now to get at your saved chat history; Gmail's POP access doesn't include chats. Clearly, that's something we'll want to address in the future.

Update 3:25 PM: added explanation on how to export contacts.

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