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Starting today, Voice users can download billing, voicemail, greeting and contact data in a flash
When Facebook released the Download Your Information feature a year ago, it was a huge step forward--philosophically--for the company. The feature, found under “Account Settings,” allows any user to download a neat bundle of everything they’ve shared to Facebook, from photos and videos to wall posts and messages.
So no matter how you feel about Facebook’s manner of handling data privacy, you always have the option of taking a copy of all your data and leaving the site for good.
Did you know that Google has been offering a similar service since the summer? Well, now you know. It’s called Google Takeout. (Don't click that now... the service appears to be down.)
Working toward having Google Takeout pervade all of Google, the company announced Tuesday that users of Google Voice can now download data from Takeout, including billing statements, voicemail, greetings and a phone book.
Here’s the official announcement from Google:
If you use Google Voice to manage your phone-life, we’ve got some good news: your data -- from call history, to voicemail (including transcripts!), to greetings and recordings -- is now available in Google Takeout. Starting today, you can download a copy of all your voice communications along with data from other products with one click. Voicemail messages and greetings are exported as mp3s, text messages as microformatted html, and forwarding phone numbers as a vcard.
Give it a shot, either with all your Google Takeout data, or by itself.
One more product liberated - and many more to go!
When you download your Google Voice data, a process that takes just a few seconds, it will come in a zip file named after your Google account ID. Unzipped, the data folder will include just a few things.
First is a billing.html file containing a history of transactions you’ve made to dial through Google Voice. In the conversations folder, you’ll find mp3s of actual voicemails your friends and family have left you along with html text transcriptions of those voicemails. Similarly, the greetings folder contains mp3 versions of your recorded greetings. Finally, phones.vcf is a tidy address book package, usable in most standard address book applications.
Other services you can download your data from include Buzz, Picasa and Profile. It’s likely they’re working on adding Google+ to the mix.
The Google group responsible for today’s update is called the Data Liberation Front, dedicated to making it easy for customers of any and all Google products to quickly and easily transfer their personal data out of those products, if they so choose. Google’s DLF has been working continuously toward this end since September 2009.
Here’s a cute little video they made for today’s announcement:
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