Alas . . . it is that time of year when all kinds of changes are being announced, and whether they know it or not, LOTS of people have this question! The answer is YES . . . unless of course I am a really big fan of yours and I am mad that you're leaving. In that case, the answer is most definitely, "No, so you might as well stay."
Ok, ok fine. If you are getting ready to retire, leave your district, or graduate from your GAFE institution (as a student), and you want to preserve your Google account data, then you need to know about Google Takeout.
Takeout is a tool that allows users of Google products, such as YouTube and Gmail, to export their data to a downloadable ZIP file. Users can download content from several (like at least 17!) Google products, including:
Since students (at least in our district) don’t have access to all of these tools, they are able to create archives of the most critical tools:
To access Google Takeout, go to your address bar and type www.google.com/settings/takeout. From here, the tool runs itself – all you have to do is click.
You can choose to export all of the available services, or you can choose services from the list. Takeout will process the request and put all the files into a zip file. This can take quite some time, depending upon how much data you have stored in your Google account.
If you don’t want to wait, or if your archive takes a long time to create, Takeout will send you an email notification once the export has been completed. You may get one or several downloadable files, depending on the amount of data in your Google account. Clicking on the file will initiate the download process. The zip file will download to your computer, and most likely go to your downloads folder.
The zip file contains a separate folder for each service that was selected for export. You can store them here and leave them here if you like; in fact, you could choose to never do anything with them again . . . they will remain as part of your files until you need them.
If you would like to take that data and integrate it with your data in another Google account, the process varies by tool. For example, you may wish to upload your files into the Drive associated with your personal Google account, or import your appointments from your school account into your personal Google calendar.
Once you run Takeout on your mail, you will have a newly created mbox file; with this, you can import that data into an email client like Outlook or Apple Mail. One way around this would be to simply forward all of your emails from your school account to your personal account; however, if you’re anything like a typical Gmail user, this would involve forwarding hundreds or thousands of messages. You can also create a filter that will automatically forward all incoming messages to another account, but this process will only work as long as your school account is active.
To import your documents, slideshows, forms, and other files in your GAFE account, first sign in to your personal Gmail account – the new home to which your files will be relocating. Your archived Drive files from your school account will have been saved into a zip file in a folder aptly titled "Drive." You can import the files all at once, or simply select the ones you want. Just click on the upload symbol next to “create” on the left side of the screen, and choose the files you wish to import.
To import your calendar events and appointments from your school calendar into your personal Google calendar, you also need to be sure you’re logged in to your personal Google account. In the upper right hand corner of the screen, just above the calendar, you will see the settings cog. Click on it to reveal the menu, and then select the Settings option. Once in your settings, you will see the link for calendars in the upper left corner under the heading Calendar Settings. Near the middle of the screen, you will see the option to import a calendar – click to begin the process. When the “Import Calendar” box pops up, you will click “Browse,” navigate to the file from the zipped archive folder, and open the file. There should only be one file in the Calendar file, and you will see that it has the extension .ics – click open to select it.
To import your bookmarks, you’re going to need to use the Chrome browser. Sign in to your Google account by accessing your email, Drive, or Calendar. In the top far-right corner of the screen, you will see 3 horizontal lines – click on them to reveal a menu. Scroll down to “settings,” and click; this will open a window that includes all of your Chrome settings. Near the bottom, under the “Users” heading, you will see the option to import your bookmarks and settings. Since you will be importing the bookmarks that were saved in your Google Takeout archive, you will select the option that allows you to import a bookmarks html file. Click “choose file” to browse (one last time) for the zipped archive folder. This time you will click on the bookmarks folder, and select the .html file. Just click open, and all of those bookmarks you saved in your school account will now become part of your personal Google account. Just like you never left!
If you are a person who needs this tool, then allow me to wish you the best of luck with your plans for the future, whatever adventures those may entail! In the meantime, here is a video tutorial that will help walk you through this part of your journey: