Microsoft, Google and more team up to help you transfer data between services

Microsoft, Google, Twitter, and Facebook have partnered to form the Data Transfer Project (DTP), a new initiative whose goal it is to make transferring your data between services much easier. Initially founded in 2017, DTP's aim is to create an open-source platform that apps and services can adopt, ultimately stoking competition by giving consumers the ability to easily try out new services while keeping data they've built up on another (via The Verge).

"Data Transfer Project (DTP) extends data portability beyond downloading a copy of your data from your service provider, to providing consumers the ability to directly transfer data in and out of any participating provider," the project's website states.

DTP takes advantage of the existing APIs and authorization mechanisms for each service, transferring the data supplied into a common format, then moving it into the new service's API. This can be used for everything from contact information and email to media like photos and music.

DTP Flow

DTP is currently in "very active development," but it's not hard to see how useful an open standard for portable data could be for consumers. As an example, porting playlists between music services, which is currently a major barrier for many, could be automated through DTP. Similarly, giving another email app a try could be made much easier by automating the transfer of your contact data.

Of course, all of this depends on major services eventually adopting DTP. However, given the open nature of the project, it's easy to envision more companies hopping on board.