Sunday, February 21, 2010

Liberate Your Data!

dunno about you, but more and more I find my data being housed somewhere else, mainly " the cloud." Meaning that my calendar, documents email, photos and more are not stored locally on my machine, they are stored on some other computer in some far oft land. And that can pose a problem. While these services normally have great reliability and uptime things happen and we can loose access to our data, or, even worse, loose the data all together.

I use several Google products. Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Picasa, even this blog is written using the Blogger product. Google understands that having access to your data is important. Maybe you want to back up your data just to make sure it is sure it is safe. But, there also may come a day when you want to get your data out for good.

There is a small group of engineers over at Google who's only job is to make it easy for you to get your data in and out of Google easily and painlessly. They call themselves The Data Liberation Front and they have a whole website dedicated to teaching us the easiest ways of moving our data in and out of Google. 

When you visit the site the first thing you will notice is that not all Google Products are listed. However the major ones like Blogger, Contacts, Gmail, Picasa and reader are there. 

For most of the sites getting your data out is as easy as exporting. Take Docs for example. From the "More Options" menu you can go to "Export," pick the format (PDF, Microsoft Word, Open Office, etc) and download. What you will get is a compressed file that has all your docs there. 

There are tons more directions on the site. A lot of them point you to the documentation for each of the products. Oh, and another great feature. If you decide to put your data back into Google there are detailed instructions for getting back in.

So protect your data. I can't tell you how many times I have lost documents or photos to a bad hard drive or lost memory stick. I have the vast majority of my data in the cloud but The Data Liberation Front helps me feel at ease that I can make backups of my backups. 

The Data Liberation Front Website

Images From Google CC


  1. The cloud is definitely the way computer use is going. This coincides with a book I'm currently reading, "The Big Switch" by Nicholas Carr, which describes how computing is turning into a utility. Google stands at the top of the heap as perhaps the new General Electric..but wait, Google is already bigger than GE: Google Now Bigger Than GE

  2. There is absolutely nothing worse than losing data. I am a huge proponent of backing up often, especially things that live in the cloud. I am a control data is no exception, I want ultimate control and I feel like backing up locally gives me a little of that. However, I also go the other way. I back up what I have locally on the cloud just in case something should ever happen locally.

  3. That's why I like stuff like Gears and it's offline storage as well as the Wave protocol that allows you to set up your own (local) server and have everything you touch synced with it.