With the update, users of Google’s Internet-telephony service Google Voice are able to export call history, voicemail messages, greetings, call recordings, phone numbers and text messages.
For many users, Google Voice is a repository of data as critical to your work or business as email messages, contact info or calendar appointments. So to be absolutely certain that this data is securely backed up and archived, the Google Voice “takeout” feature will certainly come in handy.
Voicemails and greetings are exported as MP3s, text messages are in microformatted HTML and phone numbers are available as vcards, which could then be imported into other contact systems.
The announcement was made via this cutesy video (below), picturing Google engineers as members of an organization known as the “Data Liberation Front,” dedicated to making your data accessible and exportable – that is, “liberated.”
Despite its silly nature, don’t be fooled into thinking that Google Takeout is some sort of side project for Google. It’s a key effort on its part to differentiate its offering from the walled garden that is Facebook.
Although Facebook introduced a way for you to download your information last fall, it comes in a unwieldy zip file that most users don’t know what to do with, and other services don’t support. In other words, it’s your data, but it’s basically useless. Google, meanwhile, makes sure your data is available in standard formats for import into other programs and services. Google Voice export is just the latest example of this core philosophy.