Friday, December 6, 2013

Google finally lets users export Gmail and Calendar data in Take Out

Google has always fought for user's rights to own their own data, and that's why it created Google TakeOut, so anyone could take out their data, either for safe keeping somewhere (though I prefer to trust Google with my data than a cumbersome optical disc or hard drive that may fail without warning). However, there were two of Google services that were missing from that list - and precisely the ones you'd more likely want to take out with you should you decide do migrate to other service: Gmail and Google Calendars.

Well... Google has finally decided to follow through, and you'll soon be able to export your Gmail and Calendar data in Google's TakeOut. In fact, you can do it already for the Calendar data, but for Gmail, it will be rolled out gradually over the next month - I guess not even Google wants to deal with a few hundred million users backing up gigabytes of emails... all at once.

You can select whether you want to export all your calendars or just a subset, and likewise, you can select all your gmail  or just specific label - which I would recommend, as it is highly doubtful you really need all the gigabytes of emails you've gathered over the years. In my case, I would just need to select a few labels to get all my important emails - which would probably weigh just a few megabytes, and download it in seconds instead of hours!

The calendar files are exported as ICAL files, while Gmail is exported to MBOX files - both are formats you'll be able to import into other calendar/email programs and services.

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