Google is rolling out the ability to download an archive of Gmail and Calendar data, to allow users to store an offline backup of their information from these services.
Google already offers this ability for some of its other products, but Gmail and Calendar could prove the most useful by ensuring important messages and agendas are not lost if the services go offline or if internet access is not available.
It should also safeguard information in the (admittedly highly unlikely) event that Google should ever shut down the services, as it has done with some other, less well-used services it has operated.
Nick Piepmeier, a Google software engineer, said there were numerous benefits in providing the service for these tools, in a blog post announcing the update.
“Having access to your data and being able to take it with you is important, especially if that data contains precious memories like old love letters, your first job offer, or that 100-message thread discussing the merits of various cat videos,” he said.
“You can download all of your mail and calendars or choose a subset of labels and calendars.”
Gmail data is exported using file formats such as .mbox. Google said this would allow any information to be uploaded to other mail services such as Outlook, Apple Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird.
Piepmeier confirmed the Gmail message download function will be rolled out "over the next month" but the Calendar data download option is available now for all users.
Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.