If you’re reading this, chances are very good that you’ve got an Android phone. And, if not, we’re still willing to bet that you’re using Google’s services.

Be it Gmail, YouTube, Photos, Maps, or something else, you’d be hard-pressed to not use Google. Oh yeah, did you know they also do search, too?

From time to time we might find ourselves wanting to leave a particular app, service, or tool behind. Maybe it’s closing down and we want to get out ahead of the deadline. Or, perhaps you’ve found an alternative that you’re in love with and want to migrate everything into one place.

What is Google Takeout?

Google Takeout is a service that Google offers its users to make it easy to export your data. It’s the most simple way to manage your account(s) and the information and date you’ve accumulated over the years.

There are plenty of reasons to use Google Takeout including the following examples:

  • Exporting a collection of photos to a desktop PC for bulk editing
  • Organizing and streamlining of contacts
  • Saving local copies of data to a hard drive to free up space in Google Drive
  • Duplicating bookmarks for a web browser
  • Migrate your old blog to a new platform

Regardless of whether you’re proactively backing things up, quitting a service out of anger, or simply keeping a copy of stuff for posterity, Google Takeout is here to help.

What Can you Export?

There are dozens of Google services with data or files that you can export. Chief among them are things like Google Drive documents, Calendar appointments, Photos, Maps places and reviews, Bookmarks, Contacts, and Gmail. At last check, we found some 54 sources of data to export.

The best thing about Google Takeout is that it’s not an “all or nothing” experience. If you’re looking to just export your Contacts, that’s possible. Or, if you want to select a handful of particulars, that’s fine, too. Of course, there is the option to grab it all.

When exporting your data you will be able to do so in zip or .tgz file types spread out over large files. Google defaults to 2GB but you can choose from 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 10GB, and 50GB options.

As to where your files go is entirely up to you. The default setting is to email you a download link but you can also export to Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box. If you have accounts with one of those services, we recommend that for quicker data management. Do note that this counts toward your storage quota and could put you into overage.

How to Export with Google Takeout

We have to give it to Google here as the process is quite simple. There’s no hiding behind multiple layers and things couldn’t be more obvious.

Head to takeout.google.com from your computer where you might be prompted to sign in with your Google account.

Select the data that you want to export using the toggles. By default you’ll find that everything is switched on but a button makes it easy to select “none”.  If you’re just here to back up one or two things, start by switching to none and then pick through your desired services.

Once you determined what you want to export, and in what format, click on the Create Archive button. Now, this part could take some time. If you’ve got thousands of photos stored through Google, or have a bunch of data, you might be in for a wait. This could be anywhere from a couple of minutes for 250MB up to a half hour for a few gigabytes — or longer.

Things to Know

There are a couple of other things to know about Google Takeout before starting with the process.

  • The archive you create expires in about seven days
  • An expired archive doesn’t mean your data is expired, but it’s not the most recent information
  • Google allows each archive to be downloaded 5 times
  • You may be required to enter your password to download the archive
  • If you have two-factor authentication/Two-Step Verification set up, you’ll be prompted to enter in a pass code.
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