This is how the new Google Takeout looks

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 26, 2014
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google

While it is usually easy to get data into the cloud, for instance by simply using services such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, it is often difficult to download the data again.

Google allows users to use Google Takeout to download some of that data again to a local computer system. It needs to be noted that this does not include data from all Google services and that data that is not generated by the user but by Google and its services is not included as well.

It is however possible to download important data, for instance Gmail mails, data from Calendar or Contacts, all files from Google Drive or all uploaded videos from YouTube.

Google has changed the layout and design of its data tools website recently to improve the usability of the process.

When you open the website now, a list of available data sources are displayed. All services are listed with the product name and some on top of that with a description.

A switch at the rightmost location of a row is used to determine whether the data will be included in the export or not. Depending on which Google services you use, more or less products may be listed here.

A total of 20 products were listed when I accessed the page with my main Google account. Note that you can click on any product listed on this page to display customization options. If you select Drive for example, you can select to export only select files and folders, and define the file formats that you want the exported data to be made available in.

A click on next displays download options. Here you can select the desired file type format and delivery method. The default file type is zip but you can change it to tgz or tbz instead if you prefer those formats. Note that the data is split automatically in chunks of 2 Gigabyte files if you use zip.

takeout export

Download links are sent to you via email by default, but you can change that so that downloads are automatically saved to Google Drive instead. You will receive an email as well but only with a link to the location. It goes without saying that the archive space counts against the storage quota of Google Drive.

Once you have made that selection you are informed that the archive creation may take hours or even days to complete if mail archives are included.

takeout done

So what are the core difference to the old Google Takeout? If you have used the old interface you may remember that Google displayed size information for each data source. This is not the case anymore which means that you don't know in advance if the data archive will have a size of a couple of Megabytes, Gigabytes, or even more than that.

So, is it better or worse? The lack of size information or at least estimates can be quite problematic, especially if Google has accumulated lots of data over the years.

In my opinion, it is less useful than before because of that. What's your take on this?

This is how the new Google Takeout looks like
Article Name
This is how the new Google Takeout looks like
Google has redesigned the Google Takeout service which enables you to download account related data to a local system. Find out how it looks now.

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  1. Keith G said on June 17, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Less information is just that: less information. I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t give the size info, it would be useful to have it. Especially since they tell you that if you’ve opted for .zip format, these files are limited to 2GB each, and may create multiples if over that. I am not happy about that but have had to try this, since the .tgz file I had created seems to be corrupted – I’ve tried several tools to confirm that it’s just not unarchiving incorrectly; every tool has a problem trying to untar this file (“There are some data after the end of the payload data” error). So let’s see if the zip format will work for me, even though it looks like I’m going to have about half a dozen files due to size. Ugh.

  2. JK said on January 9, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    I’m confused a little by the service. When I ask for takeout in zip format to be put on my Drive, I see mbox, zip, AND tgz files. The mbox and zip I can understand . . mbox is very generic, and zip gives more material. What are those two tgz files though? Did it automatically provide a redundant copy of the zip files?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 10, 2015 at 12:08 am

      I only got a zip and a mbox file in the takeout directory. Maybe it depends on what you export? Can you open the archive to check?

  3. Kelsey @ Brosix said on November 7, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Thanks for sharing this, Martin, I didn’t know that Google had this service until I came across this post. In a time where the “right to be forgotten” or Google privacy issue in Europe is still an ongoing battle, I think this service points back to Google’s motto of “Do No Evil.” I know that they do strive to be a company that gives useful innovations, and Larry Page seems to desire to innovate until he dies, and this innovation is a nod to their vow to be good, and to add value to the world. Nice, and great to know, thank you! :)

  4. Brightspark said on September 26, 2014 at 5:57 pm


    I realize it’s not good practice to alter an article’s main title after it’s been published but, just for future reference, it is grammatically incorrect mate.

    It should read either: “This is WHAT the new Google Takeout looks like” or “This is how the new Google Takeout looks”.

    Just so you know. :)

  5. insanelyapple said on September 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I am still waiting for back up of data AND wiping them from their servers. But this is rather unlikely to happen.

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