You may have heard of Google's Data Liberation Front. The first product from this special ops unit is called Google Takeout and it's surprisingly effortless.
Here are the steps for liberating your data; also useful for backing up contacts and links you may have shared on the network.
1. Visit http://google.com/takeout
2. Click "Create Archive"
3. Download your files
The Google archive contains options for saving your Google Profile, Stream, Contacts and Circles, Picasa Albums, as well content from Buzz and +1 if you have these enabled.
Contacts are organized by the names you have given to your Circles and stored as .vcf cards. Picasa Web Albums are organized by Album Name or post date.
Whatever you have published to your Stream is archived as .HTML pages complete with images and comments. If you have reshared items, these pages are also part of the archive.
Every product can be improved, especially one in its infancy like the Google+ project. I hope you've been noticing that Google's listening to requests and making changes in response to them. But if people start jumping on everything any Googler says and spinning it around into something it's not, we might have to reduce the amount of one-to-one communication with our users we do, and I don't think anyone wants that.
In my tips and tricks, I've been posting a lot of workarounds for features people have requested. By doing so, I'm not saying that the feature's broken, or that we won't improve it. I'm just trying to help Google+ users today to use Google+ as best they can. As I posted last week (https://plus.google.com/116222833568410151476/posts/eekxLJiBaiy), we can't usually talk about features that are in the pipeline until an official announcement has been made. But we can talk about how to make your current experience better, and we can listen to you and engage with you to try to get the best feedback we can. (We're also not infallible—this is a very complex project, and no one knows all the pieces and how they interact in complete detail. So sometimes we'll make a mistake in a description of how something works.)
I think that's a great feature of our company—at many companies, employees aren't permitted to discuss anything publicly without the PR department's prior approval. Google trusts its employees to talk to users, and it trusts its users not to misinterpret these discussions. But we need your cooperation to keep these lines of communication open!
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