You’ve probably never heard of Google’s Data Liberation Front, but they are an engineering team at Google whose ONLY goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products. We live in a web of services that want to control all of our information and NOT let it out *cough* Facebook not letting us export contacts *cough*.
So they have a funk and fun team name, but in the end this is just another Google service. It lets you easily take your data out of several Google products. So far it supports Buzz, Contacts and Circles, Picasa Web Albums, Profile and Stream. They promise support for more services and products later on; I certainly hope they get on Google Voice soon.
Once you tell Takeout what data you want to recover you’ll be able to save it in open, portable formats, allowing you to easily import it to other services/sites.
The process is 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 again before downloading the package, which Google says is for security reasons.
I love the idea of Takeout. 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 get it Google, you’re not evil, even though you’re on the warpath to further dominate the web.