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Switching from one platform or system to another – say iOS to Android – can be a painful and lengthy process, as does building your digital identity on a new social media account. Looking to streamline the experience, tech's biggest names have teamed up to create The Data Transfer Project. We explore the insights behind how the company is helping simplify data migration.

Tech companies Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have teamed up to launch the Data Transfer Project, an open source project that makes it easier for people to transfer their data between the different platforms they use. The aim is to make it easier to switch between services, backup information and ensure all the platforms a person uses have the same data and digital identity.

For example, an Android user would previously have had to download all of their photos, before uploading it to Microsoft OneDrive – a time consuming and often tricky task. And despite having hundreds of friends on Facebook, people may have to start afresh if they created a Twitter account. The Data Transfer Project removes the need to download copies of data or even creating it all over again on a new social platform, instead providing consumers the ability to directly transfer their data to and from any participating provider.

People are expecting seamless online experiences - even across platforms People are expecting seamless online experiences - even across platforms
rawpixel (2017) ©

With 79% of people ranking 'easy-to-use features' as the top reason to engage with an app, they’re looking for more seamless experiences online. And this creates room for new technologies to facilitate this.“We feel strongly that portability and interoperability are central to innovation on the internet,” says Damien Kieran, Twitter’s Data Protection Office. “We believe that a more frictionless, individually-driven forms of data transfer between online platforms and services will result in an innovative, creative, and people-first online experience for all.”

At the same time that expectations are rising, people are also using more platforms – which can create more friction when people are switching between them. Research suggests that the average person globally now has 7.6 active social media accounts. The introduction of GDPR means that it’s easier than ever for third parties to help people access and take control of their own data – and presents opportunities for brand to help streamline their own digital offerings. And with research suggesting that attention spans have fallen to just 8 seconds for the average social media user, there’s a need to speed up the systems.


Rebecca Smith is a behavioral analyst at Canvas8, which specializes in behavioral insights and consumer research. She has worked with a number of global brands to help them better understand the mindsets of their audiences, from what people want from fake tan to how they feel about technology. Outside of work, you’ll find her binge-watching anime or with her nose stuck in a fantasy novel.


03 Aug 18
3 min read

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