You’ve accumulated years and terabytes of Gmail correspondence, calendared events, contacts and photos. So where are they backed up? “Google’s servers,” you answer. Think about it — all of this data relies upon Google having no outages or corruptions. You have no Plan B. That’s right, you’ve violated one of the Computer Age’s Prime Directives: Thou shalt always back up your important data!
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Millions upon millions of Google users make the same obvious, inexcusable mistake. Google, to its credit, has established a stellar reputation for data security. It’s extremely tempting to rely upon Google to protect your data. But even Google would admit that, while flattering, this is a big mistake. So Google has taken on creating an app that easily allows you to transfer and backup all of your Google data: Takeout. Here’s how to regain control over your Google files:
How to Use Takeout
Open up Chrome and sign in. Then go the Takeout URL. You’ll be presented with a laundry list of almost 47 Google products that you use. The list will surprise you. Not least among those surprises is that your bookmarks, Google Pay transactions, app downloads, Hangouts correspondence, news, YouTube preferences, Maps and your own Profile are all included in the list of data requiring backup. It’s a bit sobering to realize how much personal data Google accumulates about you.
You may want to consider not archiving EVERYTHING the first time you try this service. The resulting data file could prove to be unwieldy.
After selecting what data you want transferred, Google gives you options about the file type, archive size and delivery method you prefer. If you so choose, Google will transfer the data to another cloud account, including Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive.
Once you’ve completed the process, Google goes to work accumulating all of this data. It could take hours or even days to complete this. Google sends you and email, after which you have one week to retrieve your archive. At that point, you can back it up on the cloud or onto an internal or external disk drive…..or both. We recommend you save this data to a few places.
Why You Should Use Takeout
Beyond the obvious Prime Directive, there are other benefits to storing your Google data somewhere other than on Google’s servers. These benefits include:
- Moving photos or Google Drive data onto a new computer for ready access
- Clearing off space on your Google Drive by archiving old documents to another location
- Reseeding your Outlook, Apple Contacts, or calendar
- Downloading purchased books from Google Play Music