Google has launched Google Takeout, a service that downloads all of a user’s saved information on Google’s servers.
Google users can download all the information stored on Google’s servers related to Google Buzz, Gmail contacts, the Google+ activity stream, Picasa photo albums and their Google profile. All the files are then compiled on Google’s end and wrapped up into a single file that users can unzip and peruse. Google gives users a quick glance at the size of the file before giving them an option to create an archive and download the information.
There are a number of reasons a user would want to use Google Takeout. For example, if users sign up to Google+, the company’s latest attempt at a social network, but decide they don’t like it, they can download all the important information from the time they used the service before leaving it.
It’s also useful considering Google+ does not work for Google Apps customers yet — just users with a free Gmail account and a Google profile. So Google Apps users can employ Takeout to get all their contacts, photos and the like and upload that to a separate Google account for the purposes of activating a fleshed out Google+ account.
Social network Facebook has a similar option that lets users download all their photos, videos and other pieces of profile information. Facebook compiles all the information on the back-end and then emails the user when the file is ready instead of displaying the compiling process in real time like Google+.
“We believe that if we make it easy for you to leave Google, we’ll have to work just that much harder to make sure you don’t,” the company’s “data liberation front” said in a video unveiling the service.