Exporting Your Social Graph (Google+ vs Facebook)

As we reported earlier today, Facebook has made some changes to the Account Settings dashboard. The option to export (or backup) your profile is now in the center of the screen making it more visible. While going through the dashboard, I decided to give the export option a try.

Clicking on the Export account option will initiate the backup which once completed will be available to download. (An email notification will be sent.) The size of the backup generated in my case was 130MB, not surprising given the number of images I’ve uploaded since 2007. The Facebook backup is essentially an offline version of your profile. It has all your Messages, Notes, Wall posts, Pictures, Videos, Friend list and even the events. All of this information is presented as an offline HTML website, screenshot:


(You can export your Facebook Profile from the “Download a copy” link in your Account Settings.)

The archive has 3 folders, with your albums in their own sub folders. Launching the index.html file one can browse through his profile. I came across my first wall post that dates back to April 2007!

Google has been making a lot of noise about your data being your datawith Google+ so I decided to test the option. My Google+ profile is a meager 3MB. (I am not a Picasa user.) However, Google+ creates .vcf files of your circles. The .vcf file can be imported into Outlook, Gmail or any contact management application. This is much better than the static friend list prepared by Facebook. Besides this, the backup option is Google+ isn’t nearly half as good as the one from Facebook. Here’s a screenshot of Google+ backup folder:

google  export

The folder segregation is pretty good but inside plus_one is a HTML file of the links you +1-ed. The Buzz and Stream folders have several HTML files of the links and posts you shared. This representation is pretty useless offline. The Google+ backup does not create an offline HTML version of your profile. And here’s where I realized Facebook is much better.

(To get a backup of your Google+ profile, head over to Google Takeout.)

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Manan Kakkar

Manan is a technology enthusiast keenly following the consumer products from Microsoft, Google & Apple.