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Google Takeout Lets You Easily Export From Circles 102

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the step-in-the-right-directions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "If you ever wanted proof that Google's recently-launched Circles social network is angled as the antithesis of Facebook, check out Google Takeout. Produced by the Data Liberation Front, Takeout lets you export all of your data from Circles, Picasa, and Buzz in open formats that can then be imported into other, competing services."
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Google Takeout Lets You Easily Export From Circles

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  • it's not like facebook is holding a master copy of my data and not like there are any competitors to facebook right now

    Buzz? - no one uses it
    Picasa? - i have the master copies of all my photos

    • by aug24 (38229) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @09:36AM (#36610200) Homepage

      I upload photos from my current phone. I used to upload from my old phone. Sometimes from my real camera, via my macbook.

      I'd quite like to have all my statuses and discussions easily convertable to a journal.

      I think an export/import facility should be standard, normal, required functionality.

      FTA:

      The idea isn’t that they want you to transfer your data away from Google — they just think it’s important that you can

      Hear, hear!

      • I think an export/import facility should be standard, normal, required functionality.

        Facebook already has this functionality and it works quite well. You can get an export of your wall and all of your photos. It comes as an HTML-formatted document and a folder of the pictures. Building a parser to grab the HTML document into a database or spreadsheet would be trivial.

        • Building a parser to grab the HTML document into a database or spreadsheet would be trivial.

          Trivial as in my grandmother could do it?

          • by Radtoo (1646729)
            Can your grandmother usually transform data using a computer?

            No? Then she can or has to use software written by someone else. Basically how she always works with data on her computer.
          • Building a parser to grab the HTML document into a database or spreadsheet would be trivial.

            Trivial as in my grandmother could do it?

            No, but her grand-kid could. And also trivial enough that even Facebook coders could implement an import feature in case she wanted to migrate over there.

            Why is the riposte to open source or open data always "not everyone is a programmer"? Today, most everyone knows a programmer, or at least knows someone who does.

            • Today, most everyone knows a programmer, or at least knows someone who does.

              Not everyone knows a programmer with infinite free time and willingness to take on all the "it would be nice if the software or online service I use offered this feature, but it doesn't, please implement for me" requests for free.

              • Not everyone knows a programmer with infinite free time and willingness to take on all the "it would be nice if the software or online service I use offered this feature, but it doesn't, please implement for me" requests for free.

                You missed the point of my post by confusing gratis with libre; and "infinite free time" is a logical black hole. Newsflash: nothing is free. For a service to implement a feature you want, they had to spend money and time they could have spent on something else. Costs that any MBA-run business will try to make back from you, the user. If you organize a bunch of users and advocate for a change, you're investing your collective time (and the goodwill of people you petition) in creating goal alignment, whi

                • You missed the point of my post by confusing gratis with libre

                  No, I didn't.

                  For a service to implement a feature you want, they had to spend money and time they could have spent on something else.

                  True, but irrelevant to me, particularly if the "something else" is a feature I do not want.

                  The fact that there is not an infinite supply of free, on-demand programming resources (including, for that matter, my own) means that "you are free to implement X yourself or have someone implement it for you" is not a perf

            • No, but her grand-kid could.

              Not everybody has a programming grand-kid.

              Today, most everyone knows a programmer, or at least knows someone who does.

              Again, not everyone knows a programmer, or even knows someone who does.

              • You need to exapnd your social circle...

                Every time I expand my social circle, your argument dies a little inside. :)

                Again, not everyone knows a programmer, or even knows someone who does.

                Nitpick, nitpick, nitpick. How's this instead:
                "Today, most everyone knows a programmer, or at least knows someone who could program a freaking HTML parser."

                The point is the ability to program is not the kind of wizardry it used to be, and shouldn't be seen as some kind of barrier to using open data and source.

                • Nitpick, nitpick, nitpick. How's this instead: "Today, most everyone knows a programmer, or at least knows someone who could program a freaking HTML parser."

                  The point is the ability to program is not the kind of wizardry it used to be, and shouldn't be seen as some kind of barrier to using open data and source.

                  I'm sorry, are you suggesting that parsing HTML would have been any more complex (or simple) 40 years ago? Any end-user system requiring the end-user to program an HTML parser, fails to be end-user.

                  I'll make a guess: 99% of the world's population does not know, and never will know, how to program a parser.

                  • Apologies for being hasty yet again. Please read "could program" as meaning "has the mental capacity to learn to" (or some variant including "not rocket science") rather than "has twenty years of experience doing so".

                    I'm sorry, are you suggesting that parsing HTML would have been any more complex (or simple) 40 years ago?

                    I wasn't, explicitly, but since you insist - yes, it's far easier now with languages like Perl and Python where text parsing is a key feature, as well as mashup tools which generate regular expressions with layman-friendly interfaces. The free availability of knowledge in pretty much every ma

                    • Please stop trying to make a big deal out of nothing. Building a parser for HTML is non-trivial for 99% of Facebook users. No matter how easy it is nowadays for someone with enough background with computers to build one or learn how to build one, that part of "enough background" is "too much" for my grandmother and 99% of Facebook users. This fact renders it non-trivial for the end user. You are not an end-user. I'm not an end-user either.

                      I'll assume you and I are capable of building a parser for Outlook's

                    • Intentional or not, that was one hell of a strawman. I wasn't talking about the end-user writing the parser, and certainly not the least technical of end users. I only mentioned end-users in the response to your nonsensical definition of an "end-user system". My original response to you was "no, but her grand-kid could".

                      Other than this nonsense you've ignored all my points, which really sucks, especially on the ones which were answering your own question.

                • by IANAAC (692242)

                  Nitpick, nitpick, nitpick. How's this instead: "Today, most everyone knows a programmer, or at least knows someone who could program a freaking HTML parser."

                  The point is the ability to program is not the kind of wizardry it used to be, and shouldn't be seen as some kind of barrier to using open data and source.

                  It never was wizardry. It was and is something a very small subset of people may learn to do.

                  Most people don't. The fact that you don't realize that suggests that your current view of what the general population is able to do is a bit myopic.

                  • Please see the other fork of this thread for the long version.

                    As I've said there- this isn't a terribly difficult problem we're talking about solving. People are capable of much if they have a need and overcome their fear of the unknown. For car analogies, see "changing your oil" or "jump-starting your car" - it's only scary until you actually try it. I didn't mean to imply the average person could hack the Linux kernel with ease, just that the population as a whole can have sufficient access to minor cu

            • by smash (1351)
              So what is your hourly rate for something like this?
              • It'd be pretty unreasonable since I'm not taking on any more work right now, and you're not my grandmother. :)

                • by smash (1351)

                  Point being: i/others shouldn't HAVE to engage the services of a programmer for this stuff. The riposte to open source being "not everyone is a programmer" is because if you need to pay a programmer for stuff like this (in money, beer, chocolate or whatever) then you may as well pay a company who actually has an obligation to support their product instead.

                  Everyone you know may know a programmer, but there are millions upon millions of users out there who don't.

          • Your grandmother will die in 1-30 years. We don't give a fuck about her.
        • by Tsingi (870990)

          I think an export/import facility should be standard, normal, required functionality.

          Facebook already has this functionality and it works quite well. You can get an export of your wall and all of your photos. It comes as an HTML-formatted document and a folder of the pictures. Building a parser to grab the HTML document into a database or spreadsheet would be trivial.

          True enough, I could write a parser that worked with wget to create gzipped files of whatever data I wanted to take out of my (non-existant) facebook page.

          I can write software to do all sorts of things that are not provided by services that may manage my data. That's what I do, I write software.

          OTOH, some people don't have the ability to write their own parsers. Should we care?

          • by RKThoadan (89437)

            I certainly don't think we should care. The primary reason you'd really want to parse that would be to import into a competing service. Hopefully that competing service has people competent enough to build the parser needed. I'm sure there are edge cases where the data might be useful in other contexts, but hopefully there's an app for that.

            However, if all you can export from facebook is your wall and photos then I would not consider that adequate export functionality regardless of what format the data c

        • Building a parser to grab the HTML document into a database or spreadsheet would be trivial.

          The other two replies point out that learning enough programming to build a parser in the first place might not be trivial. Moreover, it would appear to violate Facebook's terms of service [facebook.com], item 3.2: "You will not collect users' content or information, or otherwise access Facebook, using automated means (such as harvesting bots, robots, spiders, or scrapers) without our permission."

    • by alphax45 (675119)
      Mod this up! If I export my data from Google+ I'm going to put it in what competing service? Yes it is nice that I can export it if a competing service ever does come up but unless the export removes it from the existing service they still have my data. Also we are assuming the new competing service will actually accept the data from the old one, not really a good business decision. I highly doubt Facebook would ever accept an import from another service. They may allow you to do a search to find friends th
      • This is for those folks who don't completely trust 1) the reliability of the cloud or 2) the portability of their data once they commit to a particular cloud service and start working out of the cloud as their primary environment.

        Look for a new feature in TakeOut which allows you to restore all your data from an archive. Also look for a new open data portability standard that Google will implement. This will put the onus on Amazon, Facebook and Apple to allow users to freely come and go (and easily take
        • by hedwards (940851)

          Indeed, given the goofs that Google has made with respect to data over the years, I wouldn't trust them with my data without some means of creating my backup. Which is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for my using Google+, the ability to control where my data ends up is also in a smiliar state. Hence why I never got burned by FB, I wasn't stupid enough to trust them in the first place.

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @09:38AM (#36610220)

      it's not like facebook is holding a master copy of my data and not like there are any competitors to facebook right now

      There are other social networks... LinkedIn, MySpace, Classmates, Flickr, Last.fm, Twitter, Tumblr, etc.

      If there was a service where I could keep all of my data up-to-date in a single place and then update the other sites periodically, that might appeal to me. Especially if it were done in a nice way. Facebook is a good "general" site, but Flickr is better for photos and Last.fm is better for music and MySpace is better for flipping out your browser with crappy Javascript. My point is that if there were a "general" site like Facebook that could act like a central repository feeding (and receiving from) the specialty sites, that might be something worth using.

      • So like... a meta-meta site?
    • by lahvak (69490)

      Picasa? - i have the master copies of all my photos

      That's true, but I do not have a master copy of my gallery structure, such as albums, captions, descriptions, or even the selection of photos. If I wanted to take my Picasaweb gallery and recreate it on another website, or even create my own website, it would take me hours and hours of hard work.

    • by samkass (174571) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @09:46AM (#36610270) Homepage Journal

      You can request all your data from Facebook anyway under "Account Settings->Download Your Information". I did... it takes several hours to a day and then you get an email with a download path to all the data you've ever put on Facebook.

      • by UpnAtom (551727)

        Not true. It does not include comments you've posted on others' walls, on groups etc.

    • Oh I see. Google Is the Evil. Even if they let me take my data with me (unlike others), do not lock me in (unlike others), they are TEH EVIL.

      It's the data, stupid. And they let you keep it. If you don't see what's the big deal about it, then probably you don't deserve to be here.

    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      Myself and 3 friends all use Buzz!

    • by bartoku (922448)
      Exactly, what we really need is an open interface that allows competitors to link people across social networks, something Facebook will never do until is defunct like AIM.
  • Shoot! (Score:2, Funny)

    by SethThresher (1958152)
    I was hoping that Google Takeout would let me easily eat Chinese food for lunch today =\
    • by rubycodez (864176)
      I was thinking it was for putting a "hit" on someone.

      [] Upload Photo of Mark
      Link to Social Networking Profile of Mark __________________
      [] Upload Document with Profile of Mark


      Select Method of Payment
      [] Paypal
      [] MC
      [] Visa

      Select Preferred Type of Assassin
      [] Cosa Nostra (Sicilian Mafia)
      [] Triad (Specify): [] Hong Kong [] Vietnamese [] US [] Malaysian [] Australian
      [] Russian Mafia (Specify) Izmaylovskaya gang [] Tambov Gang
      [] Bratva (Ukranian Mafia
  • They changed the name from Google+ that quickly and quietly after announcing it?

    Well, it's better than no change at all, I guess.

    Now I'm left wondering why Google Takeout isn't a robodialer for Chinese food...

    (The Jargon File once mentioned a potentially fictitious MIT AI Lab project to use text to speech to order pizza. Long live the space-cadet keyboard.)
    • Circles are the friend lists of Google+. They form the basis of it. yeah, I wish Google Takeout had something to do with food too...
    • by Thanshin (1188877)

      Fortunately it's not Facebook that changed to Circles.

      Otherwise, to avoid being put down by the copyright army, we'd have to refer to circular shapes as poligons with an freakishly large number of sides. Or with the shorter, albeit somewhat harder to pronounce, PFLNS.

      And it would take a lot of effort to remake the Lion King to include the hit song "The pfln of life".

    • Re:Wait, Circles? (Score:4, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @10:24AM (#36610662)

      They changed the name from Google+ that quickly and quietly after announcing it?

      No, Circles is one of three major components of Google+ (the others being Hangouts and Sparks.)

      • by smparadox (831358)

        They changed the name from Google+ that quickly and quietly after announcing it?

        No, Circles is one of three major components of Google+ (the others being Hangouts and Sparks.)

        Sparks, or Sparkles? Sounds like one for the Twilight crown\d...

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I don't use FB or Google+, but from what I've read, it's a friends list, which allows you to define people as being in a circle, allowing you to post those stupid party pics that people seem enamored with only to people that were there, or who would appreciate them, without having to worry about your parents or potential employers seeing them. It could still happen, but it would take a lot more than just posting them to result in the images getting spread everywhere.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        allowing you to post those stupid party pics that people seem enamored with only to people that were there, or who would appreciate them, without having to worry about your parents or potential employers seeing them.

        LOL, that's certainly one use. But I could see this as useful to all sorts of people who currently avoid Facebook. A teacher could have a circle of students - even one for each class - that might be more convenient for all parties than traditional "office hours". A psychologist could have a circle of patients from a support group. Parents could keep a circle of the other parents from their kid's school, where you'd like to stay in touch but don't want them as friends on Facebook.

        If enough people actually us

  • Google Takeout - lets you download all the data from google services that are almost completely unused in one easy step.

    The Data Liberation group has a noble goal... but this is an incredibly lame step in that direction. Given how many years the group has been around, it is pretty sad that they've made such minor inroads. Perhaps this is the first real step in that direction... we'll see...

    • Uh, what? You can download data from almost(?) any Google service, including Gmail, Docs, Calendar and Blogger in standard formats.

      Have you seen the list at http://www.dataliberation.org/ [dataliberation.org]? What exactly is missing?

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        What exactly is missing?

        I still can't get a zip file with their entire web search database.

        • and you do know that would require you to be able to handle several thousand TERABYTES of data??
          This is more of a "What can Brown do for you?? (TM)" thing

  • I'm not knocking the ability to extract your data from the service -- it's all good.

    But open up the inter-service protocols, so that competitors can slot into the infrastructure, and then I'd be impressed.

    i.e. I'd like to be able to choose Flickr over Picasa, while continuing to use Circles and Buzz, without losing a sense of integration.

    • by rednip (186217) <[rednip] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @10:01AM (#36610400) Journal

      That's why the next big social network will have to be open sourced, as it's the only way that service providers could standardize. Otherwise we will be in a world where most people depend on one company who 'owns' your most important data in it's own format and those that don't can't communicate as well.

      • by slim (1652)

        I'm a fan of open source, but there's nothing about closed source that precludes components from communicating with open protocols.

      • I fail to see how Facebook or any other social network could own your, "most important data." Or is it common practice now to keep your bank account information and genetic sequence stored on the cloud?
        • I fail to see how Facebook or any other social network could own your, "most important data." Or is it common practice now to keep your bank account information and genetic sequence stored on the cloud?

          For some people having some link to other people is pretty important. And sometimes the only direct link you have is facebook.
          It's not important like "must not fall into the wrong hands" but more like "must not lose it".

      • http://www.rakontu.org/ [rakontu.org]
        "Rakontu is free and open source software that small groups of people can use together to share and work with their stories. It's for people in neighborhoods, families, interest groups, support groups, work groups: any group of people with stories to share. Rakontu members build shared "story museums" that they can draw upon to achieve common goals."

        My wife and I have been working on that. The first version was for Google App Engine, but our next version is being built for the deskop

      • The problem is not to create this type of software, as there are many capable open-source programmers. The real problem is how to get this type of software into acceptance with a big (non-nerd) audience. In general, people don't care much about privacy and freedom of information. They care more about communicating with their friends, and they are all on Facebook.

  •     /@
        \ \
      ___> \
    (__O)   \
    (____@)  \
    (____@)   \
    (__o)_     \
           \    \

    Facebook likes this!

  • 'takeout' implies that you, like, take the data out--you don't, you get to have a copy of it--whoo hoo, you get to have a copy of your own data
    as long as google get to keep the data, too, there's nothing being /taken out/ and until you can actually take your data all the way out--until you can log in to a service which shows all the data google have on you and lets you delete it as you see fit--their claims to be privacy-respecting are hot air

  • I thought this was in reference to Google's Demo [google.com] for Circles, that matched meta-words from your chat history with local menus via GPS and google business listings. Since the circles demo is all about a group of people searching for a restaurant to eat at! I figured automatic ordering of food for take out was their facebook-killing app...
  • Today is the first day of Google+, Google's answer to Facebook.

    I just thought I would mention it since I don't see news of it ( accept this thread ) on Slashdot and getting a story accepted on Slashdot is like winning the lottery.

    I think I will forever be suspicious of Google due to the stunt they pulled last year with Buzz and censoring Tiannamen Square massacre information from Google China.

    However, a CNet article I read stated that Google+ has better and simpler privacy. Hopefully competition from Go

  • Pay attention to the products that DLF supports - nothing that isn't already easily exported, or that anyone cares that much about. The purpose of this marketing campaign is just to shore up Google's image as the opposite of Facebook - open and caring about your privacy. They want to use this image to push their Facebook alternative, Google Plus. Whether it is actually better with openness and privacy is yet to be seen.

  • I cannot download my stuff. 3 other account can be downloaded with my browser,but my primary account just refuses to download. after finishing and entering the password it just says "You have no downloads.". The other accounts befin downloading instead :(

It's time to boot, do your boot ROMs know where your disk controllers are?

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