Growth5 Blog

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cage Free Data

Interesting article here on why Google is making it easy for users to leave Google. Their in-house "Data Liberation Front" (DLF) has one goal – Cage Free Data – "making it simple for people to leave Google's many services, taking emails, photos, and documents along with them." Highlights:
1. Google Docs now supports a download option wherein you can batch select multiple docs, Google will zip and email them to you as long as the zip file size is less than 2GB.

2. DLF team leader, Brian Fitzpatrick, started the project after realizing that despite Google President Eric Schmidt's continued dialogue about not locking Google users in, Google wasn't necessarily making it easy for users to leave if they wanted to.

3. Fitzpatrick says, "If you create a user base that's locked in, there's no way you're not going to become complacent."

4. "Google's data openness helps the company avoid this sort of public criticism in the event of service shutdowns, as when the company closed its Google Notebook product."

5. Nicole Wong, Google's Deputy General Counsel, commented that DLF matters to Google for two reasons: a) it provides control to users and b) "when we say our competition is one click away," initiatives like DLF prove that it's true.
It's great that Google is trying to keep data cage free (although not all data of course) but we need to remind ourselves that there are other motives involved. The quote from Google's counsel in #5b above probably should have said:
b) "when we say our competition is one click away, we have clearly demonstrated that we are not a monopoly and should not be mentioned in the same sentence with the word antitrust. Thank you."
FYI: Google will send you a DLF sticker...
Google: Our stickers are gorgeous full-color 3" x 5" vinyl stickers that look just as good on a laptop as they do on an egg carton, and if you'd like to get one, just send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

The Data Liberation Front
c/o Google
20 W. Kinzie, Floor 9
Chicago, IL 60610

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