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.
It grew out of the fact that we see ourselves fighting for the freedom of the users. So basically, it's another joke. Har har har. :-)
For a couple of reasons. The first reason is that we heard our CEO, Eric Schmidt, speak out against lock-in time and time again:
How do you be big without being evil? We don't trap end users.
So if you don't like Google, if for whatever reason we do a bad
job for you, we make it easy for you to move to our competitor.
We started looking at our products and discovered that while the door to leave wasn't locked, in some cases it was a bit "stuck" and we thought that we could do better.
We're doing this because we want our users to stay with us because they want to. While locking users in is a way to keep them in the short term, we believe that the way to keep users in the long term is to keep innovating and making our products better so that they choose to stay with us. And besides, if someone stops using one of our products today, we hope that they would be willing to try one of our other products at some point in the future.
No. While users can get data out of our products one way or another, we're about two thirds of the way through and we continue to work to make it easier to get data in and out of our products.
No, but we'd be thrilled if other companies followed our lead.
No. We're working to use existing open standards formats wherever possible, and to document how we use those formats in a clear simple manner.
No, we started our life in early 2007 as an internal engineering team, and the idea for the team was born from discussions that took place in 2006. We've already liberated a number of products and are working on several right now.