Google on Friday released an open-source project, Google Blog Converters, intended to help people move their blogs from one service to another.
There are a number of popular publishing systems for housing blogs, some of them services and some of them software people can run on their own servers. But if you want to change infrastructure, it's rough going. Information isn't necessarily locked up and inaccessible, but the practical barriers of moving it to a new publishing system are high.
Google, which actually has a "data liberation team," announced the Blog Converters project to deal with the situation. It released a collection of libraries and scripts, written in the Python language, that converts between the export formats of LiveJournal, MovableType, WordPress, and Google's own Blogger service, said J.J. Lueck of the team in a blog posting about the Blog Converters project.
That means that a person could convert an exported file into a format another blog system comprehends, permitting the data to be imported into the new system. That could make it easier for a person to move to Google's own service--but also to move off it.
Of course, you'll have to be proficient in running Python scripts to use the technology. But it could get easier soon: Google said the scripts can be hosted on Google App Engine, its service for running Web-based applications written in Python, so perhaps somebody will set up some tools to make blog migration easier for the non-programmers out there.
Future versions of the technology will support the BlogML data format and a mechanism to synchronize blogs with services that have an API (application programming interface) for accessing data but not import-export abilities.
Google added an import-export feature to Blogger in December. The company's "don't be evil" slogan got its start in a discussion about the company's commitment not to lock up people's data such as e-mail archives.