Google has added Gmail and Google Calendar to Google Takeout, the company's data-export tool, making it more straightforward for users to extract their personal content and jump ship to other platforms. The new additions, which will be rolling out over the next month, join the existing Google+, YouTube, Google Drive, and other cloud export options currently offered by Takeout, though it's not just of use if you're preparing to switch to a different email or calendar provider.
Instead, Google is billing Takeout mainly as a way of backing-up important data, rather than leaving the cloud services provider itself solely responsible. A separate archive of each product can be kept, or alternatively a single, complete file of everything linked to the same account created.
It's also possible to choose a subset of labels and/or calendars to export, for Gmail and Calendar respectively, if there's only a particular part that you're interested in keeping. That's handy for maintaining separate work and personal archives, for instance.
Although keeping a personal copy of your data when Google's own server farms are so large might seem redundant, entrusting often irreplaceable content to a third-party is pretty bad form. Over the past year we've seen several high-profile cases where cloud services were hacked or manipulated to give account access to unauthorized users, with data being deleted in the process.
That's not just affected Google accounts, of course - iCloud experienced an incident last year, and Amazon's servers have also been hit - but it does mean that keeping your own backups is a sensible precaution. Google's export service creates MBOX email archives, iCalendar ICS files for schedules, and various other formats for documents, contacts, and media.
Google Calendar export is available in Takeout today, the search giant says, while Gmail support will be rolled out over the coming month.