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Google lets users slurp own Gmail, Calendar data

'Let my emails go or risk my wrath – oh, thanks very much!'

Application security programs and practises

Google just made two of its mainstay cloud services a little less cloudy by giving users the opportunity to export data from the company's infrastructure.

The company announced data export features for Gmail and Google Calendar on Thursday as part of its "Google Takeout" service.

Gmail data will become available for download next month, and Calendar data is available today. Calendar data can be downloaded in .zip, .tgz, or .tbz formats.

Besides Gmail and Calendar, Google users can also download a copy of their Blogger, Messenger, Google+ Pages, +1s, Google+ Stream, Google+ Circles, Hangouts, Profile, Contacts, Drive, Google+ Photos, and YouTube Uploads.

"Google Takeout" is handled by an engineering team at Google known as the "Data Liberation Front".

El Lib Front's mantra is: "Users should be able to control the data they store in any of Google's products. Our team's goal is to make it easier to move data in and out."

Watchful readers may notice that none of this includes the immensely valuable data of user search history, or ads that you have clicked on.

To gain access to a history of Google searches, readers will need to turn on "Google Web History", and then regularly slurp up history in batches of 1,000 via an RSS reader, then re-form this data themselves.

The process is laborious, and seems to discourage users from accessing this data. A strange coincidence, given that search is what Google uses to refine its algorithms and make its money. ®

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