Google+ – Google's unsuccessful attempts to create yet another social network – will be shut down soon. Originally slated to be closed in August in August, the service will now disappear in April, which, according to Google, shows two separate data leaks.
Google has admitted that the network was not a raging success. However, there is still evidence of a loyal user base, and many users are now encrypted to find out where to go next. Some Google+ communities have come across to address this issue, such as Google Mass Migration. (The description says, "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.")
Whether you're a loyal user or you abandoned the ship months (or years) then you may still want to get a copy of your posts, photos, comments and other content before the site completely disappears.
It's not a difficult task. There are applications built to make the process easier (such as the open source app Google+ Exporter) and the official tool Google Takeout works pretty well (although sometimes it can be glitchy). Here's what to do.
Make your selections
Once you have logged in to your Google Account, go to Takeout. (This is where Google invites you to download all your data.)
The long list of Google services that have data that you can download can be a bit overwhelming, but switches to the right of each service you can choose which sections you want to download. In fact, when you go to the page, they will all be turned on. If you do not want to download everything that you have posted to Google, your best strategy is to click the button that reads Select None, which will switch them all off. You can then switch on only those that you really want to download.
When switching each service, pay attention to the small downward arrow located to the left of some of the switches. These arrows indicate that you can choose in which format you want your data to be downloaded. (It varies depending on the type of data.) Click on the arrow to see what your choices are.
What should you download?
There are several services you want to choose if you are interested in your Google+ data.
Google+ + 1s on websites
It is only available in HTML.
Your contacts. Choose between vCard, JSON, CSV and HTML.
You can download it in either JSON or HTML, or you can choose to download all your communities or just selected.
- Google+ Stream  All your Google+ posts. You can download the whole thing, or you can choose a certain type of data: ActivityLog, Collections, Events, Photos or Posts. Available formats are JSON or HTML (except for the images, of course).
It is only available in JSON.
Google will also transition from Hangouts in the near future, as long as you download you can also get the following information:
Your messages. It is only available in JSON format.
Hangouts on Air
If you've done Hangouts Q & As, this is where they are. It is only available in CSV format.
Once you have selected the formatted files you want to download, you still have some decisions to make. You can download your files in either the zip or tgz compression format. You can also choose the maximum size of your archive files. If the archive turns out to be larger, the data is divided into several files (and no, you cannot decide which files are added in any archive). Maximum of an archive file is 50 GB, but if you choose a size larger than 2 GB, you get a warning: "Zip files larger than 2 GB are compressed in zip64. Older operating systems may not be able to open this file format. There are external applications that can used to package zip64 files. "
Finally, choose where you want your data to go. You can download the files to your computer – in this case, Google will send you a link when data is ready – or you can get the information loaded into one of several cloud storage services, including Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or Box.
That's it. Click on the "Create archive" button at the bottom of the page, and you will receive a screen message stating that your archive is ready.
I chose to download the information to my computer. When I turned on the button, it took about 10 minutes for the email to arrive and announced that my archive was ready. (Sure, I wasn't that much of a Google+ presenter.) Unfortunately, there were apparently errors in the Google+ Stream archive. I tried to download the stream again, and it worked. Then I tried again with all the controlled services, and all were downloaded in two separate zip files.
Where do you go instead?
If you're still using Google+ and you're looking for somewhere else to go, especially if you've created a group of people you want to stay in touch with, websites like PlexodusWiki can offer advice on how to do this and other social networks.
At the same time, the most important task is to make sure that all your conversations, photos, and other data in your Google+ account are secure when the service becomes dark.
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