Your Google Data
Google’s products are used by billions of people.
In September 2009, Google announced the foundation of a new engineering team called the Data Liberation Front. In 2011, they released Google Takeout, a single page from which you can export some of the data Google has collected about you.
You can use Google Takeout to download an archive of your Google data.
When you visit the page, you’ll see a list of Google products, with controls to include or exclude them from your archive. Click Next at the bottom of the page.
On the next page, you can choose the download format of your archive, and start the export process.
Some time later, you’ll receive an email from Google with a download link. It will also link to the archive manager, where you can redownload any data archives from the last week.
What You Get
My archive was split into 3 files:
- All of my gmail content, in mbox format. This was by far my biggest archive, clocking in at 3.47 GB.
- An index.html file, meant to be extracted into the same folder as the main archive and serve as a navigation aid.
- The main archive, a folder called Takeout with (in my case) 17 subfolders each representing a Google product.
The Main Archive
- Bookmarks: contains my Google Maps bookmarks in an HTML definition list.
- Calendar: contains an
ics file for each of my Google Calendars.
- Contacts: contains a vcard
vcf export of each of my Google Contacts groups, plus one for All Contacts.
- Drive: contains the files from my Google Drive. Just as regular files, nothing fancy.
- Google Code Project Hosting: contains a JSON-formatted list of my Google Code projects.
- Google Photos: contains folders for each of my Google photo albums. I don’t knowingly use Google Photos, but apparently each hangout you post images into becomes a photo album behind the scenes.
- Google+ Circles: contains vcard files for each of my Google Plus circles, the only metadata in the vcards is each person’s name and Google Plus url.
- Google+ Pages: contains a folder for each of my Google Plus pages. Each has a Circles folder, containing JSON data representing the page’s followers, team members, and customers.
- Google+ Stream: contains an html file for each post to my Google+ timeline
- Hangouts: contains an enormous JSON file representing my Google Hangouts (formerly Google Talk conversations).
- Location History: contains a JSON file which I think would contain my phone’s location history if I were an Android user.
- Maps (your places): contains a JSON file with my saved Google Maps locations.
- Messenger: contains an empty JSON file. I think it’s an Android thing.
- Profile: contains a JSON file with my Google+ Profile information.
- Tasks: contains a JSON file with my Google Tasks.
- Voice: contains information from my Google Voice account, split into folders for Calls and Greetings, plus a vcard file with my own phones in it.
- YouTube: contains html and JSON formatted info, plus raw video files for all my YouTube uploads.