The Data Liberation Front – a team of engineers at Google tasked with making it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products – has announced their first service, Google Takeout.
Despite the weird team name, this is just another Google service, into which you log in with your Gmail username and password. It lets you easily take your data out of several Google products; currently supported products are Buzz, Contacts and Circles, Picasa Web Albums, Profile and Stream, but Google promises support for more services and products later on.
Once you recover your data, you’ll be able to save it in open, portable formats, so you should be able to import it to other services easily.
We’ve tried out the service, and it’s really straightforward: you can either recover all your data at once, or choose individual services. Google will automatically calculate the estimated size and the number of files in the package, which will show up under the Downloads tab. You might need to enter your password once again before downloading the package, which Google says is for security reasons.
For testing purposes, I recovered my Picasa Web Album files, and I quickly received a neat zip file containing all my images in several folders. As a side note, I had no idea those images were there, so you might want to try out Google Takeout just to remind yourself what data you keep on Google’s servers.
We like Takeout a lot: it’s a neat, quick and easy way to take your data from Google, whether it’s for archiving purposes or you want to move it to another service. The timing of this release is not accidental, either; Google launched Takeout shortly after showing off its new social networking service, Google+, probably to show how much it cares about user’s data and privacy. We got the hint, Google, but you’ll still have to prove yourself in the long run.