The one thing I really admire about Google as a company is it’s open nature towards the data of it’s users. Google has always said that the biggest asset of their business is peopleand they always want users to control the data that’s stored in their Google account.
You might know that Google already provides an online dashboard feature which allows users to manage or export data out of their Google account. You can export bookmarks, contacts, delete web search history and manage all the information right from your Google dashboard.
Today, the company has unveiled yet another product at google.com/takeout which allows users to export their data out of Google for all Google products they are currently using. Additionally, all the data is made available in open and portable formats so it’s really easy to import them on other services.
Currently, Google takeout works with Google buzz, Google profile, Picasa web albums, Google Contacts and Google circles while support for more products is a work in progress. Using the tool is fairly simple, head over to the Google takeout page, sign in with your Google account and choose the products for whom you want to export the data.
Once you are done, hit the Create Archivebutton and Google will provide a zip download for all the data that’s stored on your Google account.
I tried this tool with Google Contacts and it worked as described. After unzipping the package, all my contacts were shown as a Microsoft Outlook vcard file, as shown below:
After you have downloaded all the stuff from your Google account, you can delete them from your Google account dashboard page. Google explains
We believe that if we make it easy for you to leave Google, we have to work just that much harder to make sure that you don’t want to.
Take that Facebook!