Monday, September 14, 2009

What do we want? Data! When do we want it? Now!

If "man the barricades" wasn't such a sexist term, I'd be using it right now.

Both Mashable and ReadWriteWeb are reporting on a new movement, the Data Liberation Front. In accordance with any 21st century movement, the Data Liberation Front has a blog which they use to relay their message to the masses.

However, be forewarned - the Data Liberation Front is controlled by THE MAN - or, more accurately, the men.

That having been said, THE MAN is, at least on the surface, acting really cool. Brian Liberation briefly stopped playing his Beatles records - as Devo said, "Some things never change" - enough to pen a manifesto. Here's a portion, so you can listen to what the man said:

We're a small team of Google Chicago engineers (named after a Monty Python skit about the Judean People's Front) that aims to make it easy for our users to transfer their personal data in and out of Google's services by building simple import and export functions. Our goal is to "liberate" data so that consumers and businesses using Google products always have a choice when it comes to the technology they use.

What does product liberation look like? Said simply, a liberated product is one which has built-in features that make it easy (and free) to remove your data from the product in the event that you'd like to take it elsewhere.

At the heart of this lies our strong commitment to an open web run on open standards. We think open is better than closed -- not because closed is inherently bad, but because when it's easy for users to leave your product, there's a sense of urgency to improve and innovate in order to keep your users. When your users are locked in, there's a strong temptation to be complacent and focus less on making your product better.

Basically, the Data Liberation Front realizes something important. If I may quote from a noted musical figure whom I referenced in a Sunday night Empoprise-MU blog post just after the VMAs:

Th-th-that that don't kill me
Can only make me stronger
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