When you sign up for a Google account, you get access to many services, such as Gmail, Contacts, and Google Drive. Upon activation, each of these services will rapidly start accumulating large amounts of data on Google’s servers, especially if you use the services for work. However, you won’t be able to access any of your information if you need to work offline.
Creating an offline copy, or archive, of your Google data is a good way to get around this problem. An archive is also useful if you want to export your bookmarks to a different web browser, or if you accidentally delete something in Gmail or Google Drive. Plus, it can be a good idea to create an archive of your data if you decide to delete your Google account. Once deleted, you won’t be able to retrieve your data from the company’s servers.
Google’s archiving tool is full-featured. Within the tool, you can select the data you want to archive from more than 15 Google services, including Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar, Contacts, Bookmarks, Google Photos, and Google searches.
The archiving tool is also easy to use. Just follow these steps:
- Go to Google’s Download your data web page.
- Sign in to your account.
- Review the list of services from which you can archive data. Initially, all of them will be selected, but you can clear the check boxes of the ones you do not want to include in your archive.
- Check to see if the items you selected have a small arrow next to them. If so, click it to reveal options available to you. For instance, clicking the “Contacts” arrow reveals that you can choose to save your contact data in vCard, HTML, or comma-separated values (CSV) format.
- Click “Next”.
- Choose the file format (ZIP, TGZ, or TBZ) for your archive using the “File type” option. Generally, a ZIP file is the preferred format as it can be opened on almost any computer with no additional software.
- Select the maximum size for the archive in the “Archive size (max)” drop-down list. There are a variety of options ranging from 1 to 50 gigabytes. If your archive is larger than the size you specify, Google will split it into multiple files.
- Using the “Delivery method” option, indicate how you want the archive to be delivered. You can choose to receive an email that includes a download link or have the archive sent to Google Drive, Dropbox, or Microsoft OneDrive.
- Click “Create archive”.
Archiving large amounts of data can take hours or even days to complete, so Google will send you an email when your archive is ready.