Google knows a lot about you.
Like, a lot a lot.
But did you know there’s a way to find out almost everything you’ve shared with them over the years? Whether you’re driven by curiosity, you want to use this information to help guide your online privacy efforts, or maybe you just want to download your past YouTube comments for kicks and giggles, in this article I’m going to tell you about the tool to do all that and more.
You’ve got to hand it to Google.
Despite their greedy little tentacles data mining our entire lives, they’ve really got things organized.
Their products are on point. They even have a service that lets you download every bit of information you’ve ever provided while using your Google account. . .Well, almost every bit. There are a few exceptions but for the most part, the real “meat” is here.
Meet Google Takeout.
What am I talking about? This is an app called Google Takeout. A totally free, centralized app, it lets you pick and choose what types of information you want to download. From your YouTube activities, to every Gmail email you’ve ever sent, to every photo you’ve uploaded to Google Photos, to the attachments you’ve uploaded on a Google Hangout…Takeout lets you download it. If you’ve used a Google service using a Google account, your data is here to download.
Now, there are some exceptions to the data they don’t offer, such as the video and voice portions of a Google Hangout session.
Also, if you’ve used Google services without an account or you weren’t signed in — let’s say you were on a YouTube binge and weren’t signed in, while that history is with Google somewhere, it’s not attached to your username so you won’t be able to access that.
As you can imagine, Google Takeout is so useful for so many things, and if you’re a software developer, it also opens up a whole new world of project ideas. Just look at all that JSON! There is a lot of data here that you can use without need to ask for anybody’s permission or pecking around for open source data sets — this information is all yours.