Ever wanted to backup the masses of data that you’ve got stored up in the Google cloud? All those emails, documents, calendar events, and contacts? It’s a valid question, and something that most of us have no doubt considered from time to time.
But why would you need to backup your Google data? There are two main reasons; firstly, nothing is perfect and there is always the slim chance that your data stored with Google could be lost. Secondly, whilst very generous, Google’s free storage does run out at a point and when reached, you may wish to copy all old data to your computer to delete off the server.
BackupGoo is an easy to use application designed to backup all of your digital “stuff” stored with Google. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the ins and outs of BackupGoo, as well as another app which can do a similar thing.
The first time you launch BackupGoo, you will be asked for your Google login credentials. These are needed so that BackupGoo can get access to your account to download all of your data. Once you’ve entered those in, set a location where you’d like to store the backups, so that you can access them easily in the Finder.
If you want to be able to back up Gmail, you’ll also need to enable IMAP. To do this, login to Gmail online, click ‘Settings’, then ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’, then check ‘Enable IMAP’ and save.
BackupGoo should then instantly go about backing up all your data off the internet, but if not, just click the ‘Start backup now’ button. BackupGoo shouldn’t take too long, but larger sections such as Mail may take some time.
Each time you backup using BackupGoo, the following is backed up: Google Mail, Docs, Reader, Calendar, and Contacts.
Most of the time the backups all work perfectly, although off and on I find that one of the Google apps (such as Calendar) backups comes up with an error for an unknown reason. Simply quitting and trying again later normally solves the problem.
Within the Preferences of BackupGoo are some really strong features. You can pick and choose which of the five Google apps to backup, and BackupGoo can be scheduled to perform a backup every so many hours provided it is left open.
A very impressive feature is that you can specify exactly what format you would like files downloaded into, where there is choice. For instance, Google Docs can be downloaded as .odt, .pdf, .doc, or a .zip file containing all three.
Viewing the Backed Up Files
BackupGoo saves all your data directly into the Finder, so viewing it is as simple as just locating the folder that you’ve told BackupGoo to save to in the initial setup.
All of your data is organized really neatly within folders, arranged by account and then each Google app. The great thing about the data is that it’s not encoded into some Google only format; the files can all be opened on your Mac provided you have the software.
Emails can be opened in Mail, Google Calendars can be imported into iCal, Contacts into Address Book, Documents opened in iWork, and so on.
Another application out there which can backup Google docs for you is Syncplicity. Syncplicity is actually more of a ‘Dropbox’ style app for syncing files to the cloud, but it boasts a superb feature to sync your Google Docs, Spreadsheets, and Presentations to your computer.
This means that if you update a Google Document in the cloud, it is instantly synced with your Mac, and also to Syncplicity’s own online web interface.
Syncplicity doesn’t do Mail, but this can be easily backed up by using POP forwarding to the Mail app on your Mac. Syncplicity is free for 2GB, and $15/month for 50GB.
On the off chance that the worst happens, or you simply run out of space, you may want to consider backing up all your Google data onto your computer. BackupGoo offers a dead simple way to do this which means less hassle for you.
BackupGoo certainly has a few bugs which need addressing, and zero effort has gone into aesthetics, but most of the time it gets the job done and presents the files in a readable format. BackupGoo costs $12, with a 15 day free trial available.
Chances are that you’ll never need to use your backups of Google data, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Give BackupGoo a go and let us know how it goes for you!