Many Google users, including those using cloud services such as Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, may be unaware that Google has put together an engineering team whose sole goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of popular Google products stored in the cloud.
Generally, there are two goals of any user when engaged in cloud products or remotely stored information: Deletion and liberation.
Getting a copy of your data is one thing, while deleting your data is a completely different enterprise.
With regards the former, PC World reports that Google Takeout is a one-year old service that lets you download a copy of your Google presence. This service seems largely undocumented and unknown to most of us.
“You sign in, and then see an offer to “Download an archive of your data from” a variety of services (outlined below), and that’s it. You can grab it all in one click, or choose specific services from which to download, but unless your usage of these services is exhaustive (think thousands of Google Docs or Picasa photos), the one-click approach is easiest,” said PC World.
According to PC World, Takeout offers the following:
Here’s what Takeout currently offers:
- A list of URLs to all the +1s you’ve handed out.
- Your Google Buzz history, presuming you have one.
- A list of contacts from your Circles in Google+.
- A list of the contacts you have saved in Gmail. (These are kept separate from your Circles contacts.)
- Copies of all the Google Docs you’ve uploaded.
- Copies of any photos you’ve uploaded to Picasa. (These may include photos uploaded for use on a Blogger site, if you’ve ever had one.)
- Some basic information about the personal data you include in your Google+ Profile
- Links to each entry you’ve personally shared on your Google+ Stream. (Other people’s streams that show up in your feed are not included.)
- Your full Google Voice log, including a list of all attempted and completed calls and texts, MP3s of each voice mail, and Google’s transcript of each message.
The above are packaged into a zipped file for you to extract at your leisure. But, you do not get a copy of everything. Common omissions include Google search history, Google Talk & Chat history and Google Health Data. If you want to tackle these areas you will have to move your request over to the Data Liberation Front, the dedicated engineering team mentioned earlier.
“We don’t think that our products are perfect yet, but we’re continuing to work at making it easier to get your data in and out of them. Visit our Google Moderator page to vote on and add suggestions on what you’d like to see liberated and why,” said Google.