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Google Data Liberation Group Seeks To Unlock Data 167

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the people's-front-of-liberation dept.
Several sources are reporting that The Data Liberation Front, a new engineering group within Google, is trying make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products. They have already "liberated" about half of Google's offerings (including Blogger and Gmail) and have plans to liberate Google Sites and Google Docs in the near future. "In a blog post this morning, Data Liberation engineering manager Brian Fitzpatrick, uses a good analogy to explain why the company sees this is an important step: 'Imagine you want to move out of your apartment. When you ask your landlord about the terms of your previous lease, he says that you are free to leave at any time; however, you cannot take all of your things with you - not your photos, your keepsakes, or your clothing. If you're like most people, a restriction like this may cause you to rethink moving altogether. Not only is this a bad situation for you as the tenant, but it's also detrimental to the housing industry as a whole, which no longer has incentive to build better apartments at all. Although this may seem like a strange analogy, this pretty accurately describes the situation my team, Google's Data Liberation Front, is working hard to combat from an engineering perspective.'"
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Google Data Liberation Group Seeks To Unlock Data

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  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Drunken Buddhist (467947) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:43PM (#29418031) Homepage

    So the idea is that making it easier to leave google makes you more likely to stay with google?

    I need to try this on my girlfriend!

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bragador (1036480) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:52PM (#29418169)

      You should. If you are not jealous and trust her, she'll feel more "free" in the relationship and stay with you. On the other hand, if you keep watching her and always remind her that she's yours, she'll get away.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by l3prador (700532)
        This is a good strategy if and only you are confident that you are the best option available. In Google's case, this is probably true, but I can't speak for the GP's case. (Although the fact that confidence is attractive to most women might help in this case.)
      • Re:So... (Score:4, Funny)

        by jdgeorge (18767) on Monday September 14, 2009 @05:18PM (#29419293)

        Hmmm.... my mind goes back to a girl I left long years ago, who told me, "I, for one, welcome my new, liberating overlord."

        Gah! Meme conflict... or... hey....

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by bitt3n (941736)

        You should. If you are not jealous and trust her, she'll feel more "free" in the relationship and stay with you. On the other hand, if you keep watching her and always remind her that she's yours, she'll get away.

        this is one of those situations where either solution will work, just don't use half measures. It's either "complete freedom" or "manacled in a half-mile deep concrete bunker somewhere in a remote region of desert in New Mexico." Mutual respect and devotion, or such abject desolation as sucks out the will to live, leaving a mere husk of a living thing groveling at one's feet for death. Every relationship is different, and romance is always about surprises, so don't hesitate to go with your instincts.

      • by dangitman (862676)
        I don't know about that. I've met plenty of women who love the jealousy and control. If you're not jealous and controlling, to them it means that you "don't care" and aren't serious about them.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yvan256 (722131) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:54PM (#29418205) Homepage Journal

      Doesn't the saying goes something like "The harder you squeeze, the more will slip through your fingers..."?

      So yes, in theory is will make people more likely to stay with Google. No fear of being locked means you don't look for a way out, which is a problem for Microsoft right now.

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

        by Philip K Dickhead (906971) <folderol@fancypants.org> on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:03PM (#29418329) Journal

        This is Slashdot. The appropriate version of this plattitude goes:"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers".

        At the suggestive notion of Princess Leia, and the salacious interpretation of "Slip through your fingers", many of the regular posters will now compulsively grasp their crotch, as the OggTheora of "Slave Leia's Supplication" is summoned from Portable VNC on the USB key, once again...

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

          by m.ducharme (1082683) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:08PM (#29418405)

          Must....not....fap....

        • You know, I've never got the Leia in the Gold Bikini thing, and to be honest, I don't know anyone who does. Yes, she's wearing a bikini, but it's nothing that wasn't in every second 80's film and even BayWatch.

          I think it's a generational thing. I must watched that film at the age of 9 or 10, whereas older people saw it first in their late teens or twenties. First time I even remembered Leia had worn it was when an almost 40 year old cast playing late twentysomethings brought it up on a show called "Friends"

          • In my late 40's.

            Saw SW (no suffix) in '77. The "Lip-gloss Leia" in a slinky gown and raygun? That was a mild grabber, for the close of the Disco years. I thought: "She's not so ugly, for a white girl".

            By the time a third picture showed up? I already imagined I was Paul Weller or Ray Davies reborn. Hell, Weller was still charting!

            Not very likely to get my knicks tightened-in-front by some JAP in a gold-bikini. I was looking for the next P.P. Arnold, and making time with asian birds.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I just got the 9-DVD CAV pre-Greedo-shooting-first LD set and Slave Leia choking a big slug is hot. Just don't know what else to say...

      • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by danieltdp (1287734) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:39PM (#29418789)

        On the other hand (no pun intended), if you completely open your hands, the butterfly will simply fly away.

        As always, the solution lies in the middle: you should neither squeeze nor open your hands, but simply hold it gently :-P

        Coming back to the topic. Being possible do leave will make more people willing to get-in in the first place

        • by mweather (1089505)

          On the other hand (no pun intended), if you completely open your hands, the butterfly will simply fly away.

          Why? It landed there for a reason, didn't it?

        • I really don't think clamping down on the butterfly is a good idea :( I don't know what you are trying to prove you sick bastard.

          BTW fly murderer, trapping butterflies is just mean, touching them with your greasy hands kills them.
      • by hedwards (940851)
        The point is that it's a selling point as much as anything. I'm more than a little hesitant in general to sign up with a service or use a product that prevents me from taking my business elsewhere if I don't like it. The movement being allowed by Google with their engineers is a pretty firm demonstration of their confidence in their ability to provide people with products they want to use.

        This is also the reason why I asked for a refund from Intuit a couple years back. I've never done that before or sinc
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rolfwind (528248)

      So the idea is that making it easier to leave google makes you more likely to stay with google?

      This is an excellent idea on google's part. It's like that old IT truism whereby the more necessary a programmer becomes, the sooner you should get rid of him.

      It could help small businesses and organizations decide to go with google, if they have guarantee of local backups as well. Nothing is more annoying than being able to put data in, but not getting it out in any timely, consistent fashion - which is the fai

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      So the idea is that making it easier to leave google makes you more likely to stay with google?

      No, the idea is that making it easier to leave particular Google services makes it more likely that people will use those services in the first place, not that it makes them more likely to stay with them once they start using them.

    • I think the idea is that it is the right thing to do. Ethically Google has been doing a great job, aside from youtube of course.
    • So the idea is that making it easier to leave google makes you more likely to stay with google?

      Those fools! Didn't they learn anything from AOL's incredible success bolstered in great part by their refusal to let customers get away from them without hours customer service torment and continued credit card charges!?! And what's with offering all this stuff for free?! This Google company is just another hare-brained flash-in-the-pan get-rich-quick scheme... I'm glad I abstained from buying from their initial public offering. You guys thought you were worth $100 share?!! Laughable.

  • Do No Evil? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:43PM (#29418033)

    This is an even-numbered, "Do No Evil" week.

    Watch out next week though.

  • The Anti-AOL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chill (34294) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:46PM (#29418073) Journal

    This is one of THE major complaints about AOL. Easy to get data in, impossible to get out.

    Just last month I was asked to assist someone to get all their contacts (1,500 or so) out of AOL's mail system. There is no export feature, nor any third-party tool to do it. AOL's official answer is to print it out for a backup.

    I called AOL's support, and after several rounds of phone-tree hell, got a tech who told me flat out "We don't do that. Good luck!"

    I ended up writing a script that parsed the XML-like output of their "print" function. Print to screen, save to file, parse with Perl. It hoses up the contact lists, which are included and just end up creating duplicates. They don't output as lists at all.

    Still, it was marginally better than hiring someone to retype it all by hand.

    • If I had mod points I would mod you up just for the use of Perl.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jay L (74152) *

      I left AOL in 2001, but my roommate wrote the original Personal Filing Cabinet, and I can confirm that there's no known official way of exporting any of it, or at least there wasn't last I checked. There are some third-party tools that do a so-so job of the mail itself, but they are very picky about which AOL client version you have, and I don't know if they export the address book itself... and it looks like they've all been abandoned anyway (there was ForMorph, PFCViewer, and FvonGordon's PFC Converter).

      • It's also good sense.

        If you have two apps, apparently equal on features, and you're looking to switch from your old application (for whatever reason), which one are you going to try out first?

        The one that you can't get your data out of again?

        Or the one you can?

        If you don't like it, you can move on to the next one. But there's a chance you'll like the first one, you know, the one you tried first, because it was less risk.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:46PM (#29418077) Homepage

    This is both the big advantage (for providers) and disadvantage (for customers) with SaaS-type "cloud" services: data lock-in. Its interesting that Google believes that they can compete enough on quality that lock-in is no longer an advantage to them because it scares away more potential customers than it traps.

    • by QuantumRiff (120817) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:00PM (#29418287)

      They have a HUGE upside to helping people move their data out of Exchange servers (emails, contacts, appointments, etc) into the paid Google Apps service.. Last time I looked, their tools for doing just this were coming along nicely. That was one of the biggest complaints, getting the email and archives out. This same thing was a big pain, when MS wanted people to migrate from Groupwise and Lotus Notes to Exchange. MS made a nice little importer, but they didn't make their data easy to Export.

      That can lead to very tempting sales pitches, give us 6 months, (or a year, or whatever) and if you don't like our service, we'll help you go right back to what you had before.

    • This is both the big advantage (for providers) and disadvantage (for customers) with SaaS-type "cloud" services: data lock-in. Its interesting that Google believes that they can compete enough on quality that lock-in is no longer an advantage to them because it scares away more potential customers than it traps.

      Actually, I think Google thinks that avoiding lock-in itself is a competitive advantage that is bigger than lock-in itself would be. If people are afraid to use your product for critical uses because

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      That's why we give our customers 5 methods of export: PDF, Word, Excel, CSV, and XML. Every order, customer, report, and product can be exported for back up or to take elsewhere. The only thing they can't get to is credit card details. And we won't release those for obvious reasons. So that might be a headache if they switched to another service, but...

    • by CodeBuster (516420) on Monday September 14, 2009 @05:48PM (#29419677)

      Its interesting that Google believes that they can compete enough on quality that lock-in is no longer an advantage to them because it scares away more potential customers than it traps.

      With the rise of strong or at least credible competition from many open source products and a greater user awareness (although still not universal) of the perils of lock-in, the use of lock-in as a strategy by proprietary software vendors is becoming progressively less valuable. In fact, a tipping point may already have been reached whereby, as you stated, the number or users entrapped is not outweighed by the number of users scared away by the trap. This is a good thing for both consumers and the marketplace because it removes or lessens the impact of a classic barrier to entry in the software business. Google is wise to recognize and exploit this against other large competitors, such as Microsoft and Autodesk (which is infamous for their proprietary file format lock-in on their AutoCAD products), that have historically favored lock-in or at least done little or nothing to facilitate interoperability.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:51PM (#29418149)

    Guy 1: Are you with the Data Liberation Front?
    Guy 2: No, we're with the Liberation Front for Data!
    Guy 1: Oh, well at least you aren't with the Front for Data Liberation!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      SPLITTERS!

      so, aside from free search, email, blogging, maps, docs, apps - what has Google ever done for us?

  • ... the members of that data liberation group would quickly be "liberated" from their jobs!

    (I'm basing this on experiences trying to get data out of Outlook and over to another client)

  • The easier it is to move data in and out of Google, the more data Google get to monitor.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lwsimon (724555)

      While this is a valid concern, you can take it too far. As a private citizen, it doesn't really bother me that Google crawls my email and my contacts' email and uses keywords to target ads. As a business, it would be more concerning, but even then only for certain types of data.

      At the end of the day, they provide a service and need to be paid. They get paid through targeted ads - so if you don't want to see targeted ads, you're not "paying" Google, and why should they do things for you then?

      It would be "

  • by stvn (674703) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:54PM (#29418199)
    I'm very curious how they are going to liberate the user added data in Google Maps/Mapmaker. Right now the 'community' adds raw data like streets & locations but 'only' get back PNGs with colors representing streets and locations. Granted this is enough for most people. But Openstreetmap has been doing similar work and allows users access to the raw data, resulting in totally different uses than just simple PNG-maps. It would be awesome to tap into the raw mapmaker data and combine it with raw openstreetmap data for for instance routing, vector based maps for mobiles (smaller!) etc
    • Moral of the story for me (but I've already learned this in the past): before you even start spending time accumulating data in some format or with some service, be sure you can easily migrate that data out of said format or service. As a last resort you can almost always manually look at each piece of data and re-enter it in some other format, but the time and energy required to do that often exceeds the value of the data, effectively resulting in the data being unusable if you need to change formats/servi
    • I'm very curious how they are going to liberate the user added data in Google Maps/Mapmaker.

      I'm not sure if this covers the "user added data" you are concerned about, but -- from the Data Liberation Front page linked in TFA -- the main mechanism for getting your data (either "My Maps" or "Saved Locations") out of Google Maps is via KML export [dataliberation.org].

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        But there's not a lot point exporting the data if you don't have the rights to use it.
        That's what the top-ranked Data Liberation suggestion [appspot.com] is talking about - great that we can get the data out; but now allow us to use it elsewhere without fear of being sued for breach of copyrighted.
        • But there's not a lot point exporting the data if you don't have the rights to use it.

          Maybe its just me, but I'd much rather be able to get the data out of the system even if there was some dispute over the parameters of the legal right to use the data, then to not have any means to export the data but to nonetheless have an undisputed right to use the data if, somehow, I could get it in the first place.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by stvn (674703)

        I'm very curious how they are going to liberate the user added data in Google Maps/Mapmaker.

        I'm not sure if this covers the "user added data" you are concerned about, but -- from the Data Liberation Front page linked in TFA -- the main mechanism for getting your data (either "My Maps" or "Saved Locations") out of Google Maps is via KML export [dataliberation.org].

        There are some caveats on this KML export, for instance you're not allowed to bulk export data: "Also, you may not use Google Maps in a manner which gives you or any other person access to mass downloads or bulk feeds of numerical latitude and longitude coordinates."
        This is a vague limitation; can I get all my tens of bicycle paths back and what about the tens or hundreds friends of me did etc.
        I do understand that entering 'public' data (where roads are) is different from private data (gmail). So the DLF

        • I do understand that entering 'public' data (where roads are) is different from private data (gmail).

          I think a better phrasing of the distinction is your data which is stored on Google servers (e.g., gmail) vs. data that isn't yours which is accessible to you as a consumer of Google apps.

          I can see the result of an added road by user X, so why can I not access the raw data?

          You can see the result of, say, Google spidering the web and applying PageRank, but they won't let you download their complete database

    • A cursory look at openstreetmap shows that it lacks the ability to plan a route, pretty much the onyl reason I stop by Google maps. Is there a viable alternative for that?
    • by bendodge (998616)

      Does downloading as KML fit the bill? (The View in Google Earth link.)

  • OMG (Score:3, Funny)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Monday September 14, 2009 @03:57PM (#29418235)
    I am SO sick of Google. They are giving every corporation a bad name by being so unevil.
  • I was initially going to comment that this analogy is a bit off:

    Not only is this a bad situation for you as the tenant, but it's also detrimental to the housing industry as a whole, which no longer has incentive to build better apartments at all.

    The obvious problem is that no particular landlord is interested in "the housing industry as a whole": they're interested in their own corner of it. And so it's not clear why the landlord would want to do something to make it easier for tenants to move out, just bec

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by andymadigan (792996)
      Even for a minority member of the market it is to their advantage. Advertising that it is easier to move (and scaring consumers that other vendors/landlords "lock you in") gets you customers. This either means you end up with more customers, or you force everyone in the industry to add the ability to move. If they choose the latter, then you can compete on features and be able to easily pull customers from other vendors.
    • by volsung (378) <stan@mtrr.org> on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:16PM (#29418509)

      I think often people confuse "altruism" with "long term self-interest," and that may be the issue Google is considering here. In the short term, you can make it hard for tenants to move out, and maybe gain a little bit of rent that you would not have otherwise gotten. However, people talk and, in the long term, behavior like that can lose you potential customers. You will be forced to drop your rent in order to keep your units full.

      (This relates to the best description of "business ethics" I've heard: Ethical business requires that you balance the needs of and try to act in the best interest of your owners, employees and customers. Otherwise, in the long run, you will find yourself without capital, labor, or revenue. Thus, business ethics is about long term self-interest, not some kind of abstract altruism. Sometimes the "long run" takes a really long time, encouraging people to risk unethical behavior, of course.)

      Making it easier to leave Google applications helps grow your potential customer base in the future (such as those who are wary of lock in), at the risk of losing current customers who are unhappy with your service. That is a motivation well-rooted in self-interest, as long as you think your product is better than everyone else's.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Trepidity (597)

        It raises risks, though: not only do you have to think your product is better than everyone else's, but that it'll stay that way indefinitely. I think a lot of companies aren't that confident that, sometime in the future, someone else won't come along with a better---maybe even much better---product. Then they're suddenly out of business, unless they've made it harder for people to quickly switch. If they did make it hard to switch, though, they'll have residual business for years after being obsoleted, fro

        • It raises risks, though: not only do you have to think your product is better than everyone else's, but that it'll stay that way indefinitely.

          Or, it requires you to believe that your target market will view portability itself as having value; if its easier to move off Google than any competing platform, that inherently makes adopting any other platform (all other things being equal) riskier than adopting or continuing to use Google. The absence of lock-in isn't just a reflection of confidence in quality, i

        • by Phurge (1112105)
          No not quite. Sure you have to be confident about your product, but it also means you can't take your eye of the ball.

          So in that way opening yourself up to competition means that you have to stay focused on what your customers want. Which although it means more work, is good for the long term health of your product.
      • (This relates to the best description of "business ethics" I've heard: Ethical business requires that you balance the needs of and try to act in the best interest of your owners, employees and customers. Otherwise, in the long run, you will find yourself without capital, labor, or revenue. Thus, business ethics is about long term self-interest, not some kind of abstract altruism.

        So something sort of like this [google.com] then? (See graph on page four of the presentation.)

      • by lwsimon (724555)

        Exactly. I'm an Objectivist, but I'm offering some products online for free for limited use, and I contribute to F/OSS. The idea is that in the first case, my customers will gain confidence in my products and purchase more expensive services in times, and in the second case, that F/OSS will not only become better, but will better fit my own needs in the future.

        One doesn't have to be altruistic to benefit others. There are no conflicts of interest amongst rational actors.

    • The obvious problem is that no particular landlord is interested in "the housing industry as a whole": they're interested in their own corner of it. And so it's not clear why the landlord would want to do something to make it easier for tenants to move out, just because the end result is good for "the industry as a whole", unless they're altruists.

      Landlords would want to make it easier for tenants to move out because then it's easier to get tenants to move in. You'd get more people interested in being tena

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sukotto (122876)

      It reduces the competitive moat yes. BUT it also give people more incentive to try your product. "Hey, if it doesn't work out you're not locked in. so why not START with us and if you're ever unhappy then you can move on.". The best next step for them is to make it really easy to get your data into their product line from their competitors. Like that guy upthread who was trying to extract 1.5k contact cards from AOL, for example.

      This is good press for them on multiple levels.

  • hippies (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArhcAngel (247594) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:04PM (#29418339)

    Damn capitalist hippies!

    It's getting where an evil mega-corp can't make a bazillion bucks anymore.

  • by imunfair (877689) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:04PM (#29418341) Homepage

    I've been looking for a good way to get a bunch of old email out of my yahoo account for a while without paying for a premium account... this actually looks like a good option! Judging from the screenshots I can import my email into gmail and then grab it via POP/IMAP.. now off to try it :)

  • Mistaken analogy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't he mean, "You wouldn't choose to enter into that lease in the first place."

    I.e. people won't use Google products until they can avoid lock-in.

  • Google's Terms of Service suck. Clause 11 needs to become much narrower, and preferabbly have some permission process in it. Until they fix that, the whole effort is just bla bla.

  • by NewToNix (668737) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:13PM (#29418475) Journal
    One of the best essay's about where you keep your data I've ever read:

    http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Essays/winolj.html/ [linuxmafia.com]

    Rick Moen . . .

    INOLJ-OOW2.0C (Is Not On LiveJournal Or Other Web 2.0 Cults)

    It's worth the read.

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:14PM (#29418485) Homepage

    So you can get your data out when you want to move to different sites/applications.
    What about getting your data out if Google decides to stop the site/app, decides to stop the "Liberation Group", decides to delete your data from it's systems or somehow has to stop business.
    This "Liberation Group" thing simply ensures you can get your data only when you least need to.

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:52PM (#29418979)

      What about getting your data out if Google decides to stop the site/app, decides to stop the "Liberation Group", decides to delete your data from it's systems or somehow has to stop business.

      If Google gives you the tools to export your data on demand (which is what most of this amounts to, on the export side), then you can decide how frequently you want to archive it to protect against that kind of eventuality, just as you would with local storage. Yes, you run some risk of catastrophic, no-warning failure/cancelation of Google as a whole or the particular service, but you do that with most forms of storage under your own control as well, and, in either case, you can backup your data to mitigate the risk.

      This "Liberation Group" thing simply ensures you can get your data only when you least need to.

      That seems to require accepting a particularly odd definition of "when you least need to".

    • Presumably the option to 'leave' implies the option to periodically back up your data as well. Compare that to 37 Signals's online collaboration product Basecamp, which has a uploaded file backup policy of "go screw yourself". They have argued that since you put all the files in, you already have a copy. But if this were an accurate picture of how business works, then no one would need their product.

    • I get so tired of this narrow-minded garbage. By your logic, no one should use any code they haven't written themselves.

      When will you recognize like most of the rest of us have that it's in a company's best interest to treat its customers as best they can. Sure, shit happens, but shit will always happen. Let people and companies like Google do what they do best so that the rest of us, whose specialty is not IT, can do what our specialty is, whatever it is.

      Or do you only fly on planes you've built yoursel

  • by noidentity (188756) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:31PM (#29418687)
    Imagine you've been driving your car for years, and have accumulated lots of map notes, music, and playlists in your car's navigation and music systems. When you decide you want to buy a new car from a different manufacturer, you're free to do so, but you can't simply transfer all your settings to the new vehicle, even though it has similar systems. The only way to move it all over is to manually re-enter/recopy each item, which would take many hours.
  • Names (Score:3, Funny)

    by dazjorz (1312303) on Monday September 14, 2009 @04:41PM (#29418815) Homepage
    Google More Obvious Name Group Seeks To Make Names More Obvious
  • by queazocotal (915608) on Monday September 14, 2009 @05:00PM (#29419059)

    The highest rated suggestion - over a thousand votes - on the data liberation site is about Google Maps.

    Specifically - the rather loose definition of what we can and can't do with the data.

    http://moderator.appspot.com/#15/e=43649&t=4364a [appspot.com]

    You can extract a kml from a my-maps thing you've drawn on top of googles satellite imagery easily.

    But what can you do with this?

    Google have made vague and unclear statements that 'bulk' use is not allowed - without saying what this is.

    Yahoos terms and conditions allow uses like this, and much of OpenStreetMap has been helped by this for example - people able to trace streets, streams, and ...

    But the license for data derived from maps is still unclear - can I for example take a list of 3000 river crossings from google, crowdsource how easy they are to get across with a 4x4 or a donkey, and then publish this list?

    And if I sell the list, or publish a book of maps using this data combined with openstreetmap data?

    • by legirons (809082)

      All your mashups are belong to us!

      Seriously, trace all you like on google maps (in your geography lessons, at work, in your council meetings) because we're going to take all your data and put adverts on it.

      regards, Ed. [blogspot.com]

    • by chrb (1083577)

      Yahoo has been explicit in stating that the satellite image license they have allows tracing. Maybe Google's license doesn't say the same. 'Bulk use' is a different thing to tracing - it's probably defined as downloading many tiles covering an area and caching them locally, like Maemo Mapper and some other local applications can do. This bypasses the Google interface entirely, which is probably not the greatest thing for Google's advertising based service...

    • > But the license for data derived from maps is still unclear - can I for
      > example take a list of 3000 river crossings from google, crowdsource how easy
      > they are to get across with a 4x4 or a donkey, and then publish this list?

      In the USA, yes. That's mere data, not creative expression.

  • so how about doing something useful with all those aerial/street photos (like letting openstreetmap trace them, rather than have them sitting unused hoping someone at googleplex will find a way to paste ads on the pics before they become out-of-date)

  • On the information super highway, mousemat underhand
    Pages choc full of banners, sites filled up with spam
    Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
    Plain simple front page, with a clean white design
    I surfed down to the site
    There they stood in the doorway;
    Names were Page and Brin
    And I was thinking that this site
    could be made out of fail or made out of win
    Then I clicked on the search link, and they showed me the way
    There were posts all over the interwebs,
    I thought I read them say...

    Welcome to the hotel

  • I already have the means to export all my Google data. Contacts and calendar can be easily exported thru the web interface. For mail I use IMAP: Evolution syncs everything. For the docs I use a Python script called GDD [1st-soft.net]. It's getting easier though, and I like this move by Google. They're committing themselves to keeping their services on a level where you don't want to leave, even if you easily can.
  • Now they just need a colony pod and they're set!

    "What's more important, the data or the jazz? Sure, sure, 'Information should be free' and all that --but anyone can set information free. The jazz is in how you do it, what you do it to, and in almost getting caught without getting caught.
    The data is 1's and 0's. Life is the jazz."

    -- Datatech Sinder Roze,
    "Infobop"

  • Maybe next they can liberate all the data held hostage in the Windows Registry? Maybe they can kidnap Ballmer and hold him hostage until he cries uncle-Bill? They could tie him to a chair and then throw it around the room.

  • it says gmail is liberated - but they turned off extracting chat a couple of years back.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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