A new tool from Facebook will make it possible for users to transfer photographs directly to Google Photos. Facebook is trialling the tool in Ireland, with the intention of rolling it out across the globe during the first half of next year.
Steve Satterfield, director of privacy and public policy at Facebook, explained that this new tool had become possible due to a new agreement between some of the Internet big hitters. “For almost a decade, we’ve enabled people to download their information from Facebook. The photo transfer tool we’re starting to roll out today is based on code developed through our participation in the open-source Data Transfer Project,” Satterfield commented.
The Data Transfer Project refers to a major new collaboration between such big names as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter. Facebook has indicated that it will begin the process of collaborating with the project via Google Photos, but other services could be included in the months to come.
Facebook is seeking feedback from Irish users of the tool, as it continues to refine the software ahead of its worldwide release. The tool is intended to be a useful addition for those users on Google Photos who don’t automatically backup their pictures from mobile devices. Those who usually backup should already have access to their social network images on Google’s service.
In launching the new service, Facebook argues that users should have the privilege of being able to move data from one service to another with relative ease; often described as data portability. This would appear to then put control back in the hands of the users of the major Internet platforms.
Facebook indeed indicates that its new tool will provide people with control and choice, while also encouraging innovation within the niche. However, there are still the question marks regarding privacy, considering the checkered reputations of some of the participants involved.
In the run-up to the release of this Google Photos tool, Facebook already published a White Paper, which explores many of the privacy questions that will likely be raised. Facebook was also keen to emphasize that it had sought feedback from a variety of countries – the social media network site particularly named the UK, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore – in order to ensure that appropriate data is made available, and that procedures are properly protected.
Facebook claims that it has “learned from our conversations with policymakers, regulators, academics, advocates and others” in building the Google Photos tool, and that real-world use cases will help drive the way that software is implemented.
The overall aim of the project is to build practical practical portability solutions that can be used effectively by users, while also being trustworthy on a privacy basis. This would certainly be useful for the many users who will utilize several of the platforms involved, but the jury will still be out on the safety and security of any data involved, despite the protestations of Facebook.