Google Data Liberation Front Unlocks Data Facebook Hoards

Google's Data Liberation Front is trying to provide an alternative to Facebook by making it easier for Google+ users to take their data with them whenever they choose.

Google's Data Liberation Front added the ability for users to export lists of the Websites they recommended to other users via the Google +1 button.

The +1 button allows users to recommend search results or ads they like while using The service was given more relevance with the June 28 launch of Google+, a social network that lets users share links, videos and photos, and allows users to "+1" content there.

On the same day Google+ launched to limited field testing, the Data Liberation Front unveiled Google Takeout, which lets users export their data from Google Buzz, Google Contacts and Google+ Profile, Circles and Streams, as well as Picasa Web Albums, which provides the picture storage foundation for Google+.

Google+ and Google +1 should be a boon for the Data Liberation Front, launched September 2009 to let users free data from Gmail, Google AdWords, Google Chrome and other company products.

Helmed by Google Engineering Manager Brian Fitzpatrick, the Front has applied a quasi-militaristic, semi-serious approach to letting users shuttle data they create via Google Web services outside those applications. Just see this video.

This is because Google is stressing that it has taken an open or die position to freeing up user data, something rival Facebook has been reticent to do as it built out its massive walled garden of 750 million-plus users.

Facebook allows users to download their data and take it with them, but Fitzpatrick has said the approach is not open, compared with Google, which uses "portable and open formats?ö?ç?£ so it's easy to import to other services quickly."

This is one of the reasons developers have created tools such as Move2Picasa, which lets users shuttle their Facebook photos to Picasa Web Albums on Google+.

Facebook blocked Facebook Friend Exporter, a Chrome extension that automates the extraction of user data and Open-Xchange's Social OX, which lets users take their contact list to other services such as Google+.

Facebook's terms of service give it the right to block such data-scraping tools, but Google's point with Takeout is that developers shouldn't have to craft such tools to help Facebook users dance around data exports.