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Google Takeout Lets You Easily Export From Circles

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the step-in-the-right-directions dept.

Google 102

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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what exactly is the point of this? (0)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610138)

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

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (5, Insightful)

aug24 (38229) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610200)

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!

Already there (1)

fermat1313 (927331) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610242)

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.

Re:Already there (1)

guybrush3pwood (1579937) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610368)

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

Trivial as in my grandmother could do it?

Re:Already there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610408)

Your nany must be one hell of web programmer!

Re:Already there (1)

Radtoo (1646729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610492)

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.

Re:Already there (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610532)

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.

Re:Already there (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610616)

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.

Re:Already there (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36612990)

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, which may result in the win-win situation that eludes people who too often think in zero-sum terms. "Open" is all about win-win- the provider generates loyalty/goodwill, the user gains freedom.

If you want something custom-made, it'll cost you, whether in time spent doing it yourself, cash as a feature bounty, or the goodwill of geeks if you're excessively demanding of their time. It's cost-beneficial when your goals align such that benefits and costs are spread, but that's not necessarily the case. It's on you to determine how much it's worth to you.

Re:Already there (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#36617052)

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 perfect substitute for, and is quite often not even remotely a worthwhile alternative to, "X is implemented for you".

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, which may result in the win-win situation that eludes people who too often think in zero-sum terms.

Yes, and that's true whether or not the root product at issue is open; after all, I can just as easily organize a bunch of users of a commercial, closed-source, closed-data-format as an open (source or data) one, and vendors of closed products do, frequently, respond to demands from their user community.

OTOH, that's a rather long-term option in either case. If an otherwise comparable, competing product has the feature I want now, the fact that I could organize a group of users to lobby for (or build) the feature I want in a product -- closed or open -- that lacks it is a small consolation.

"Open" is all about win-win- the provider generates loyalty/goodwill, the user gains freedom.

The freedom for users, as such, of "open" software is often not a real benefit. To the extent that openness benefits users qua users, it is through choice which only materializes when third-party developers, as well as being free to build the add-ons users demand, are also motivated to do so. OTOH, its often possible for third-party developers to do that for non-"open" software as well: it may often be more difficult to do so, but often the incentives are stronger, as well.

If you want something custom-made, it'll cost you, whether in time spent doing it yourself, cash as a feature bounty, or the goodwill of geeks if you're excessively demanding of their time.

Yes, obviously true. Which is why a product which does not include an feature that is important to a particular user or audience, but which merely provides the necessary hooks on which you might hang a custom implementation is often, by far, inferior -- for that user or audience -- to an otherwise similar product that does include the feature.

You need to exapnd your social circle... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36612436)

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.

Re:You need to exapnd your social circle... (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36613070)

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.

Re:You need to exapnd your social circle... (1)

guybrush3pwood (1579937) | more than 3 years ago | (#36613648)

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.

Re:You need to exapnd your social circle... (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614274)

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 major language, via book, tutorials, screencasts, et cetera on the Internet makes such learning true even in the third world. (Please don't waste both our time arguing that HTML can be non-trivial to parse HTML, because we are talking about exported data, not a webpage generated in Frontpage and loaded with Javascript and CSS, I'd be happy to concede that irrelevant point.)

Any end-user system requiring the end-user to program an HTML parser, fails to be end-user.

Nonsense- it requires no such thing. We're talking about performing data migration, not standard operations of composing an email or uploading a photo. Take Outlook and PST files. Good luck getting an "end-user" to migrate that data to another mail application (and let's be real- even when moving it to another desktop running Outlook they'll call IT to copy and connect their PST). Doesn't stop Outlook from being considered end-user software.

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

The number of programmers isn't the point, nor is knowing one personally. The key words were "wizardry" and "barrier". I answered a duplicate of your previous post here [slashdot.org] . Same answer- irrelevant if the value to you is high enough. If you don't care enough about moving your data around, your data has no considerable value and this line of argument is pointless since there's no reason to expect an "end-user system" to implement for you.

Re:You need to exapnd your social circle... (1)

guybrush3pwood (1579937) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614510)

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 PST format. My dad, however, feels like Richard Stallman (not that he knows who that is) when he writes an email and it leaves the outbox. My dad is a reasonable sample of end-user. Not you, and not me.

I'll make another wild guess: your cubicle has a sign with this bit of nerd humor: SELECT * FROM USERS WHERE CLUE > 1

Re:You need to exapnd your social circle... (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36615544)

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.

Re:You need to exapnd your social circle... (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614022)

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.

Re:You need to exapnd your social circle... (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614558)

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 custom programming. These days programming doesn't require a four-year degree, a high-end computer, or a Visual Studio license. You don't even have to buy a book anymore.

Take a worldwide random sample of a hundred kids in middle school. You'll be able to get this task done. That's all I'm suggesting.

Re:Already there (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36615638)

So what is your hourly rate for something like this?

Re:Already there (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36616540)

It'd be pretty unreasonable since I'm not taking on any more work right now, and you're not my grandmother. :)

Re:Already there (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36630824)

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.

Re:Already there (1)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 3 years ago | (#36613352)

Your grandmother will die in 1-30 years. We don't give a fuck about her.

Re:Already there (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610392)

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?

Re:Already there (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610550)

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 comes in. Most of my activity on facebook consists of comments on other people's wall and pictures (in fact I refuse to upload photos and link to my website instead). That also does not appear to include exporting your friends list, although I admit it might be harder to export that in a way that is meaningful outside of facebook.

Facebook's TOS (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610450)

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."

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610452)

there used to be a util called 'flickrdown' to download all your fullsize orig flickr photos.

worked for a while.

then flickr said 'uhhh, no'.

at that point, I stopped paying for their pro service and went back to free. I know I can't count on them in any serious way and I now use them as a time/photo based blog and that's all I use them for.

it was nice when you could snapshot your entire collection and download it (for safe keeping). when they stopped it, it was clear they were not going to be your 'friends in the cloud'.

(flickr also bit-reduces your images after 200 of them in the top view and even if you once had a link to the full res version, they changed the file under you and rescaled it down! bastards.)

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

alphax45 (675119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610214)

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 that were on your old service but I don't see anything further being allowed. I don't really see the point.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610286)

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 all their data/content with them).

The problem with putting all your stuff in the cloud is that you lose the sense that you still own it since you can't get your hands on it anymore and take it where ever you want. TakeOut solves that.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610902)

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.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36613014)

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.

a place to sell your soul? Yeah, lots.. just sign up to anything with the word 'cloud' in it.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36613206)

a place to sell your soul?

I really don't care if Last.fm knows my music listening habits, just as I don't care if the grocery store knows my buying habits when I use the store card. I put photos on Flickr with the express intent of sharing them, so obviously that's not a privacy concern. When job hunting, I send out dozens or even hundreds of resumes to total strangers - so really, what do I care that LinkedIn has the same info?

Everyone has a different level of comfort with privacy. I used to live in Manhattan, where you could see into hundreds of un-curtained apartments, and hundreds of apartments with the curtains drawn. Clearly people have different preferences. The people with the curtains open aren't "selling their souls", they just like the light and view enough to risk giving a bored stranger some jollies.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614188)

So like... a meta-meta site?

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620748)

Yeah, jack of all trades, master of none :)

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610264)

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.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36616296)

have you tried to export your picasa albums? they export as a filestructure with each gallery having its own folder.

your problem isn't that you can get your photos, it's that there are no easy ways to upload galleries en masse to other photo sharing sites.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

lahvak (69490) | more than 3 years ago | (#36624312)

I don't think that would be a problem. For example with flickr API, it should be fairly easy to write a script crawling the directory structure you get from picasa, and recreate similar structure in flickr. I don't know if flickrfs still works, but if it does, you can just basically copy all your files to the locally mounted flickr file system.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (3, Informative)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610270)

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.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (2)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 3 years ago | (#36621008)

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

Yes it does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610310)

Try to export your account's contents from facebook. It will turn out that "only" friend comments are missing. Such a little detail. Want to see these dialogs again? Return to Facebook and increase ad views. Want to see these dialogs 500 pages back? Last time I checked, the "previous stories" link loops so that no older entries can be viewed at all.

Re:Yes it does (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610946)

Considering that those dialogs include other people's potentially private information, I'd be horrified if they allowed you to export those as well. Perhaps they could just export your half of the conversation.

Considering how poorly thought out FB privacy is, I'm not surprised that you expect to be able to export that as well.

But, then again, I don't use FB because of the myriad other privacy problems they have.

Re:Yes it does (1)

abhisri (960175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36619364)

Only thing poorly thought is your comment. You could do with a bit more of common sense.

Because, the moment you posted those dialogs for your friend to see, you effectively made it less private than you think. Nothing is stopping your friend from copy-pasting the whole conversation into a file, and pasting *that* into a blog/forum/printing-and-framing-it-on-a-wall.

Do enlighten us how "exporting" the said conversation is all that much different from his simply copy-pasting the same information into a file?

Oh ok, we get it. Now you want to ban copy-paste. Carry on then.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610434)

Picasa does store some kind of meta info outside the photos, does it not? That might be usefull

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610906)

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.

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611572)

Myself and 3 friends all use Buzz!

Re:what exactly is the point of this? (1)

bartoku (922448) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611660)

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! (2, Funny)

SethThresher (1958152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610168)

I was hoping that Google Takeout would let me easily eat Chinese food for lunch today =\

Re:Shoot! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610378)

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

Wait, Circles? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610192)

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.)

Re:Wait, Circles? (2)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610234)

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...

Re:Wait, Circles? (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610472)

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? (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.)

Re:Wait, Circles? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610970)

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.

Re:Wait, Circles? (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36613102)

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 use it, it might be marginally more useful than the Facebook model - which does have the ability to corral your friends into categories, but it is definitely a bolt-on feature.

WTF is Circles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610206)

do they mean google + ? neither circles.google.com nor google.com/circles yields anything

Re:WTF is Circles? (1)

RL78 (1968236) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610274)

Try asking Google that question. ;)

Re:WTF is Circles? (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610444)

Circles is one component of Plus- the one that deals with the different groups of people you connect with. I think the submitter was confused about terminology.

You'll want to read a more comprehensive post about Google Plus by an actual tech journalist (as opposed to an "anonymous reader"), possibly waiting a few days while people figure it out themselves.

Re:WTF is Circles? (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611270)

Your first sentence made it clear that the product will be a flop. If it can't be described in 1-2 sentences what it is and what it does then it's a waste and too complicated for most users.

Re:WTF is Circles? (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611836)

Your post makes it clear why governments suck: people who base their opinions on bad arguments are idiots and political hacks.

Just because I didn't describe it well doesn't mean it *can't* be described well. I'm not Google and I'm not trying to sell the product - just to answer a very limited question from a confused bystander. That's why I told people to go find a decent source of information. You opted instead to be a dick by taking a cheap shot at me and Google. I hope it helped you feel better about your shitty life.

Re:WTF is Circles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36613242)

I didn't have any intention of slighting you at all.

Re:WTF is Circles? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610636)

A circle is the set of all points in a plane which are equidistant from a given point called the center. "Circles" would be a collection of such sets.

DLF is entirely tongue in cheek (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610210)

The Data Liberation Front (DLF), a left-wing guerrilla group of Googlers...

From the FAQ [dataliberation.org] :

Why do you call yourselves "The Data Liberation Front"?

We started as an internal engineering team back in 2007 and couldn't agree on the name, so we came up with this name as an homage to The Judean People's Front, the splinter group in Monty Python's Life of Brian that spends most of its time bickering. In addition, we do see ourselves as being somewhat subversive, not so much within Google, but insofar as it's unusual for a big company to work to make it easier for their customers to leave them.

DLF are scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610494)

As a member of the Liberation Front of Data, the only people worse than Facebook are the Data Liberation Front.

Re:DLF are scum (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611010)

Hey now, as a member of the Front for the Liberation of Data, I find both of those groups to be degenerate to the FLD.

Re:DLF are scum (1)

lord_mike (567148) | more than 3 years ago | (#36613618)

Splitter!!!

BY GOLLY !! I DIDN'T KNOW HOW MUCH I NEEDED THIS ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610212)

And now I do !1 Thanks, Teh Google, for taking my life life into your ever-knowing hands !!

Google Anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610256)

"Google’s way of showing that the data it holds in its massive database is yours..."

In other words, Google want to be able to have deniability if your data is lost or traded to somebody else and it ends up getting shown to have originated from them. Google can claim it's users failed to secure it, and had the ability to release it everyplace.

Google has become notorious for abuse of information, and dispite their claim about this "left-wing guerrilla group" which is still a bunch of Google employees.

Meet the new boss...same as the old boss.

Re:Google Anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36611032)

Haters gonna hate. Sad but true.

Re:Google Anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36611218)

Lock your data in... EVIL!
Okay, let you take your data away... EVIL!

What do you want, exactly?

Instead of bitching about a free service, store your own data already.

Export all the data nobody cares about (1)

OpenYourEyes (563714) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610262)

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...

Re:Export all the data nobody cares about (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611342)

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?

Re:Export all the data nobody cares about (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36613134)

What exactly is missing?

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

Re:Export all the data nobody cares about (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36614384)

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

Re:Export all the data nobody cares about (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620756)

I know sarcasm is tough to convey on the internet, but COME ON! :)

Openness during use (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610320)

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.

Re:Openness during use (3)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610400)

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.

Re:Openness during use (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610978)

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

Re:Openness during use (1)

RealTime (3392) | more than 3 years ago | (#36615138)

Sounds like a job for Open Social [google.com] .

Re:Openness during use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614938)

What you are talking about is open format. Not open source.

Re:Openness during use (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#36615286)

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?

Re:Openness during use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36616236)

It's common practice for banks to recognize your birthdate/mother's maiden name as perfectly acceptable password equivalents. (all information that can be easily found on a typical facebook account)

(yes I'm implying that most bank's security is completely retarded)

Re:Openness during use (1)

cr_nucleus (518205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36616258)

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".

Working on that with "Rakontu" (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36615652)

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 in Java using CouchDB for a backend (a backend that can be either server-based or peer-to-peer) that can also provide an RSS feed.

But, after a lot of time spent doing this for free, we need to raise some money to keep it going (like on the order of US$20K - US$40K to finish the next version of the design goals in the documents on that webpage). We've been talking about using Kickstarter. But maybe Diaspora has used up all the mindshare about that?

But in any case, my wife wrote a related blog post called "Steal these ideas":
    http://www.storycoloredglasses.com/2010/08/steal-these-ideas.html [storycoloredglasses.com]
"I spent part of last year building an open-source web application for story sharing and sensemaking in small groups. It's called Rakontu. This was a dream that began in 1999 (when I first started working in organizational and community narrative) and has been growing ever since. I used up years of savings to do it, and I was able to build far less than I would like to build someday, but I had a grand time and I'm glad I did it. I wrapped up the project about a month ago and posted an excerpt from a lessons-learned document for the project.
    In my lessons-learned document I said that I'm more interested in the ideas from Rakontu moving on than the actual software surviving as is. Since then a few people have asked me to elaborate on that statement. So I've reviewed and thought, and I've come up with a list of six pieces of advice for anyone who would like to incorporate ideas from Rakontu into their own effort to support online story sharing."

In any case, some people are trying. Maybe someday our society will have a "basic income" to ensure all people have more time for civic-minded pursuits if they are so inclined.

Re:Openness during use (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620180)

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.

Re:Openness during use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36620374)

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.

Every major corporation (including Facebook, Google, Microsoft) wants to be the sole keyholder of all the worlds' most important data. Facebook has come the closest to becoming that. Facebook is already the standard against which the entire Web revolves (Hell, even Slashdot has a facebook button). The reason facebook does not support Openness (OpenSocial, OpenID anyone?) is the same reason Microsoft won't opensource Office or Windows 8 anytime soon.

They don't need to. The whole world (short of a few bearded weirdos like me) has already given them what they want on a silver platter, allowing them to make successful billion dollar empires.

The real reason why Google is doing something that would be unthinkable to Facebook (essentially allowing a person to change his social network to a competitor at a few clicks of a mouse) is because they have nothing to lose. They are nowhere in the social-networking market. Their last attempt at a Social network, Orkut crashed and burned to the ground.

In Short, Google is having to use all its resources, innovative skills and clout to woo users and stay relevant in the Internet. This is the free market at work. And I am liking what I see.

Re:Openness during use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36611108)

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.

That opening up the protocol was called Google Wave. It died.

Not new. Facebook has this feature too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36610380)

You can also do this in Facebook.

Account > Account settings > Download your information

It sends you an email with a link, which you can use to download a zipped archive with all your photos, postings, and comments

Re:Not new. Facebook has this feature too (1)

genghisjahn (1344927) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610748)

Why was this modded down? It's true. You can download your stuff from Facebook.

Can export data from Google's social network? (1)

__Reason__ (181288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610516)

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

Facebook likes this!

'copy', not 'take out' (1)

smartaleckkill (1161259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36610920)

'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

Re:'copy', not 'take out' (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611570)

You mean this? [google.com]

Re:'copy', not 'take out' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36611588)

Paranoid much?

This whole thing is there so that you can easily take the data out so OH MY GOD THEY'RE RIGHT BEHIND YOU! RUN, FAT BOY, RUN! THEY'RE GONNA GET YOU!!

Oh, man, that's always hilarious. Seeing you paranoid freaks jump like that? Great stuff. Had to do that at least once today. Don't worry, there's enough of you to spare, and you're all the same.

Anyway, this whole thing is there so that you can easily take the data out so you can move to some other service if you want. It's to avoid vendor lock-in. Or a last-ditch backup, if that's more your thing.

Doggy Bag (1)

Nemo's Night Sky (1051346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611182)

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...

Google+ Google's answer to Facebook (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611268)

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 Google+ will force Facebook to do the same.

Re:Google+ Google's answer to Facebook (1)

balbus000 (1793324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36611564)

The story [slashdot.org] ran yesterday.

This is just a marketing campaign (1)

LS (57954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36612914)

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.

Facebook does that too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36613136)

Just go to your account settings and there's a link to download all your data in one ZIP file. I think there was a Slashdot article about this back then when they introduced it.

Circle Jerking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614044)

I can't wait to start circle jerking on google+!

Google+ is meant to directly compete with Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36614886)

Google's CEO publicly stated that they hadn't done enough to compete with Facebook (or in his words he "screwed up"). All you need to do is look at Google+'s interface to see that this social networking site directly answers the challenge set forth by Facebook. Facebook took Google's spot as the most visited site on the web, and to fight back they have basically create Facebook minus the flaws. They kept all the features and the style that Facebook users love, and dropped the crap. Not only can you export data, the privacy policy is (or attempts to appear to be) much shorter and simpler, and sharing isn't all or nothing, you can divide your life into circles.

http://ct.necs.la/ktgd7V

Does not work for my account (1)

oernii (782044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36620000)

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 :(
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