Changes to Google Takeout aim to loosen its grip on user data

Google's "G" logo
(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google has created a series of commitments in an attempt to rectify its "alleged abuse of dominant position" with U.S. users' backed-up data.
  • The AGCM has deemed its commitments "agreeable," with two of them directly impacting Google Takeover.
  • Google states it will test a new solution that will allow users to transfer their backed-up data to other services if they choose.

Google has put forth new commitments in an act to resolve its "alleged abuse of dominant position," the result of a case started by the Italian Competition Authority.

In a press release, the Italian watchdog states it has closed its investigation into Google's data case while also giving insight into how the company will look to loosen its grip over backed-up user data. The case claimed that Google has consistently restricted users in the U.S. from sharing their personal data held by Google with other services.

To rectify this, the AGCM states Google presented it with three commitments, with two of those directly impacting Takeout, the service users interact with when backing up copies of their personal data. The commitments will give users their choice back as they "facilitate the export of data to third-party operators."

Additionally, the final commitment involves Google testing a new solution that will let users transfer their backed-up data from Google directly to another service if they choose.

The commitments put forth by Google are simply a temporary fix until the true direct service-to-service portability function arrives, per the company. It also looks like this could arrive sometime during Q1 2024, as well.

These changes should make it much easier for consumers to manage and move their information, which often requires downloading tons of data before moving it to another service. It sounds like the changes will make the process more direct and less of a hassle for users.

The AGCM saw its investigation into Google as a way to further shine a light on a user's right to data portability. The watchdog added that this right could offer "maximum economic potential" to the user as they can freely choose where they want to store their information.

According to Reuters, Google has accepted the AGCM's decision moving forward as it continues to refine data portability "in a way that improves user experience while protecting user privacy and security."

Google was in quite a stressful situation as the company faced a rather hefty fine if it was deemed guilty of unsavory practices with user data.

The Italian watchdog fined Google back in 2021 — along with Apple — for how the companies handled user data. The AGCM stated neither side offered "clear and immediate information" about how it extracts and uses its user data.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.