Google and Microsoft Oct. 26 made key moves to their messaging and collaboration applications in the name of data portability, the increasingly popular trend of letting users move content created in specific applications outside those apps.
Following its pledge to let users shuttle their Google data from one repository to another, Google has begun allowing users to export multiple Google Docs at the same time. Microsoft meanwhile released documentation for the .pst file format for its Microsoft Office Outlook e-mail application.
Power users of Google Docs may want to take dozens, hundreds or even thousands of files from Google Docs from Google Apps and move them to another repository. But these users don't have the time to move each document piecemeal. The "Convert, Zip and Download" Docs batch export utility lets Google Docs users select multiple files and then click on "Export" from the "More Actions" menu in Docs.
Users then pick the format they desire -- Microsoft Word, PDF, etc. -- for the files they want to export. To complete the task and receive a zip file with all of their Docs, users simply click "Continue."
Because it can take several minutes to export large amounts of files, the Google Docs team added an "E-mail when ready" option that sends users a link when the zip file is ready. Currently, Google said users can export up to 500 megabytes of content in a single zip file. That covers some 20,000 typical files, give or take.
The Docs team, which launched a major refresh earlier this month, including multi-file upload, also added indicators on whether they've "viewed" an item or not.
"Unviewed" files are in bold, while "viewed" files are not. A "New!" indicator is displayed when items are initially shared to users. When an item is first shared, it will be bold and marked as "New!". Once that item has been viewed it will be listed normally, said Google Docs Product Manager Vijay Bangaru.
Google is billing its "Convert, Zip and Download" utility as the "first major offensive on the Data Liberation Front," a group of Google engineers that teach consumers how they can move data into and out of Google applications.