The Data Liberation Front – an engineering team at Google whose singular goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products – has just debuted its first product, Google Takeout.
Google Takeout lets you take your data out of multiple Google products in one fell swoop. Just sign in to the service, select which Google services you want to back up, and then click Creative Archive. Each of the services will be neatly backed up to a zip file in open formats that can be imported into other web services and products. Takeout has launched with support for five services – Buzz, Contacts, Picasa Web Albums, Profile and Stream, but Google promises to add more services later on.
You can either download all your data from the 5 services at once or choose individual services to export data from. After you make your choice Takeout will automatically calculate the estimated size and the number of files in the package. When you are ready to download, click on the Create Archive button and download the zipped file. Buzz posts are saved as HTML files, and Gmail contact groups as VCF files.
The service is a bit borked at the moment – you can’t download your profile, only the first 100 photos from each of your Picasa Web album are downloaded (discovered by Alex Chintu), and Gmail contacts that aren’t included in any group are not downloaded. Additionally, Takeout takes a long time to prepare your archive.
Until these issues get sorted, you can use Picasa software to download your albums from Picasa, and use the Export action in Gmail contacts to download all your contacts as VCF or CSV file. Buzz data can be downloaded using any email program.