Google just added a nifty new feature to Google Takeout, the company’s “data liberation” service for downloading your personal data from Google’s various services. Starting today, you will also be able to easily download the videos you previously uploaded to YouTube. That in itself isn’t really new, as you could already download your transcoded videos from YouTube. What’s interesting here is that the files you download from Takeout are exactly the same files you previously uploaded. These files will feature none of the transcoding or transformations that YouTube generally applies to your videos before they go live on YouTube. “Your videos in. Your videos out,” as YouTube engineer Brian Hawkins describes it in the announcement today.
It’s worth noting that you can’t download individual YouTube videos with this tool. Instead, Google will happily build a zip file for you with all of your files and let you download it. Given the nature of video files, these downloads can quickly become very large, of course.
Since Takeout launched last June, Google has continuously added support for more services to the tool. Originally, the focus was on Buzz (remember that?), your Gmail and Google+ contacts and circles, your Picasa photos, and your profile. Since then, Google added support for downloading your data from Google Voice, for example, as well as your +1’s, 3D Warehouse uploads, and articles you may have written in Knol, the company’s ill-fated Wikipedia competitor (though very few people ever did that…).