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Get your data off of Google

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Google AppsOne of Google’s founding principles is, “Don’t be evil.”

As the company grew and began to introduce more apps, including ones where a user’s data was stored on Google’s servers, it started to become apparent that it was tough to get this information off of the servers. In an effort to turn this around, Google has introduced the option for users to download their information. This service has been recently updated to allow users to download even more of their data from various Google apps.

In early December, Google announced that they have expanded their ‘Google Takeout’ service which allows users to download data stored on their Google account. You have been able to backup or download data from Google apps like Drive or YouTube for a while now, and this latest development expands your options.

The announcement introduces the ability to download your information and data from two popular Google apps:

  1. Google Calendar – You can now download data from your Calendar. This includes calendar info like appointments, etc.
  2. Gmail – Throughout the month of December and into early January 2014, Google will roll out the ability to download data from your Gmail account. What this means is that you will be able to download your email messages.

How is this function useful?

We see three main uses, or reasons, as to why users would want to download their data from Google:

  1. To back it up – Many users are relying on cloud-based services like Google Drive and even Gmail to store all of their important files and conversations. While the chances of these systems failing is slim, it’s still not a good idea to put all of your virtual eggs in one basket. Therefore, downloading a copy of the files stored essentially backs them up, making these easier to recover should something happen e.g., a file is deleted.
  2. Switching to another service – While Google may seem all encompassing, there are other services out there and businesses do occasionally switch. When they do, it can be a complicated process to remove everything you have stored with Google and transfer it over to another service. By downloading your information, you have it in one file that can then be easily uploaded to a new service.
  3. To retain ownership – Some users have a problem with who actually owns the files, messages and other data they have stored with Google. It used to be tough to actually reclaim the information you had stored, making it feel like you may not necessarily own what is rightfully yours and could only access it by using Google’s apps. Now, you can download it and have access to it without having to go through Google – in other words you own your data.

How do I download my data?

You can download your data from the various apps by:

  1. Logging into your Google account.
  2. Clicking on your profile picture in the top-right of the window. It is located below the URL bar.
  3. Selecting Account followed by Download your data and then Create an archive.
  4. Ticking the service information you would like to download. Click on Edit beside each service to configure what data to download and even the file format to use.
  5. Selecting Done if you change any format or download options.
  6. Clicking on CREATE ARCHIVE.

When you create the archive, the data from the selected services will be zipped together into one file and then downloaded to your computer.

If you are looking to learn more about using Google’s services in your company, please contact us today.

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