How to Back Up Google

“He who laughs last usually has a backup.” – unknown

We put so much info and trust into the ‘cloud’ that is Google that you may never really think about what happens if you lose your account. I know I’ve got 4+ years of emails and hundreds of docs just sitting there. So what happens if at some time your account gets hacked and they delete everything, or while intoxicated one night you sign in and trash it all? There are just 4 steps to completely deleting your Gmail account, and they’re fairly easy. So lets first see how to back up Google in case this happens. First, there is the obvious way of having Google undelete your account. But due to privacy issues, it could be a tough process. You even need to know the date you created the account. Tough. See how to here: http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=117219

Gmail

There are various tools to back up your Gmail accounts.

1. Simply called ‘Gmail Backup’ this program will download all your emails to your computer, including attachments. The program is getting a bit dated, but still seems to work.

2. Set up your Gmail to push messages to an offline program, like Apple Mail or Thunderbird. You’ll have to configure Gmail to have this work, but its not too hard. Google has instructions here.

3. Set up a ghost account that is linked to your original Gmail account. Then have the ghost account receive any emails that are sent to you, basically keeping them as a backup. Some info about that from Lifehacker.

Docs

1. Docs has an ‘Export All’ feature that allows you to download all the docs to your computer. You can find this under Google Docs >> select all >> export >> all export > continue. This is the simplest way, but does require you actually going in and doing it every time you want to back them up. It can also take time to download depending on the number and size of docs you have.

2. There is an open source program called GDocBackup that will back up your files for you. Its recently and frequently updated, which should make it reliable. I havn’t had a chance to use this one yet, so any comments on how it works would be great!

3. To get a bit more complicated, but with more options, you can install a Firefox Greasemonkey Script, that allows you to select Google Docs and download them without archiving them.

Blogger

If you’re still using Blogger (switch to WordPress or Tumblr!!), there is an easy way to back up your blog, but it is done manually, meaning if you back it up today, write something tomorrow then delete the blog the next day, you’ll be missing a post.

Anyway, if you want to know how to back up Blogger, its easy. Log into Blogger and get to the dashboard. Click on ‘Settings’ on whichever blog you want to back up. At the top of your list of settings there is a ‘Blog Tools’ title. Beside/under that there is a button for ‘Export blog’ click that, then ‘Download Blog’ and you’ve got it on your hard drive. There is an easy ‘Learn More’ button there too, if you want to know how to transfer your blog to another system.

There are more parts of Google you can back up, but some are very easy. I use Google Calendar to plan my week and on my iPhone the Calendar app automatically syncs to the Google one, allowing me to always have it in my hands. Picassa also has a couple backup programs for Windows(via DownloadThemAll) and Mac to let you do a mass download of your photos.

If you know of easier/better ways, let me know!

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