Google Gmail, Calendar Users Gain Data-Backup Abilities

Also new are autocomplete address functions and quicker display of related events when using Google Calendar.

data backup

Google is now providing Gmail and Google Calendar users with the ability to back up their Gmail and Calendar data for safekeeping or to transfer it to another application or service. At the same time, Google has added several new features to the Calendar service to make it easier to manage for users.

The new data-backup capabilities were unveiled by Nick Piepmeier, a Google software engineer, in a Dec. 5 post on the Google Gmail Blog.

"Having access to your data and being able to take it with you is important, especially if that data contains precious memories like old love letters, your first job offer or that 100-message thread discussing the merits of various cat videos," wrote Piepmeier. "Starting today, we're rolling out the ability to export a copy of your Gmail and Google Calendar data, making it easy to back up your data or move to another service."

Users will now be able to download all of the mail and calendar data in their accounts or just a part of it, he wrote. "You can also download a single archive file for multiple products with a copy of your Gmail, Calendar, Google+, YouTube, Drive and other Google data."

Users will gain the new backup functions for Gmail over the next month, while Calendar data is available to users immediately, according to the post.

The other new Google Calendar features include a first-ever autocomplete function when typing in addresses for events and quicker display of related events when entering data, according to a Dec. 4 post by Boris Khvostichenko, the product manager for Calendar.
"When life gets busy, you rely on your calendar to keep track of what you need to do and where you need to be," wrote Khvostichenko. "Creating events in Google Calendar is now faster with autocomplete predictions from Google Maps. Calendar will autocomplete addresses as you type so you can quickly and accurately add locations to your events."

The Calendar entry has a map link where invitees to the event can click and see a map to the gathering, he wrote.

Other relevant events in Calendar are also now easier to spot using the search function, which lets users find other upcoming events in their schedules, he wrote.

Another service improvement in Calendar is that group event guest lists will now automatically update as people join or leave a group, making it easier to manage the lists. "This way, you don't have to worry about missing any events organized by a new group you joined or having your calendar filled with events that no longer matter," wrote Khvostichenko.

Google is constantly adding new features and services to its Gmail and Calendar offerings.

In August, Google made it easier for users to find information they are seeking within their own Gmail, Google Calendar or Google+ accounts just by making a request using their own voice. The new feature brought capabilities that Google Now users have had for more than a year to the Google Search product and helps streamline information gathering for users. The voice search can also be used to view photographs that users have loaded into their Google+ accounts, again by asking to view the images for a specific trip.

In July, Google returned its outbound voice calling services to its Hangouts feature in Gmail, Google+ and through the Chrome browser extension after it was temporarily removed in May when Hangouts was updated. The missing voice calling feature cropped up quickly after the new Hangouts launch when user complaints posted on Google's blogs and Google+ pages caused the company to respond and promise the reintroduction of the service in the future.

Also in May, Google unveiled a feature that allowed users who have Google Drive, Gmail and Google+ Photo accounts to put all their files in a unified place, rather than having to maintain separate storage areas depending on what kinds of files were being stored. Gmail users also got the ability in May to send money to others by sending "cash" in an email message. The new capability became possible because Google integrated its Google Wallet payment services with Gmail, allowing users to safely and securely send up to $10,000 per transaction to another person.

Google's Gmail celebrated its ninth anniversary April 1.