Google Allows Export of Mail and Calendar Data

I don’t know if Gmail and Google Calendar are much used within practice — I can think of a bunch of reasons why they shouldn’t be — but I’m certain that many of us who work in the legal industry use these applications in our private lives. In either case, it’s important to have control over your data. If you don’t access your Gmail via IMAP, you don’t have a local copy on your own machines. Now Google plans to let you simply download your mail data as they roll this ability out over the next month. Calendar data can be downloaded right away, according to the Official Gmail Blog announcement. This also lets you move the data to another service, should you want to leave Google.

You’ll find the controls by going to your Account page, where you’ll see the invitation to “Download your data.”


  1. Oh dear. Why shouldn’t Gmail and Google calendar be used within a legal practice?

  2. Well, one worry would come from the fact that you don’t control your data, Google does. There have been reports of people having their accounts suddenly cancelled for reasons that are unexplained; it’s not easy to get help or support from Google to figure things out. So you’d have to be sure to keep copies of everything locally — and back those copies up. You could do this if you connected to Gmail via IMAP, or now if you were religious about exporting your data. With Google Calendar you’d have to be sure to have offline access and back up that data locally.

    With Gmail and, I presume Google Calendar, there’s no privacy guarantee from Google. I assume that Google “reads” my mail in order to figure out what ads to pitch to me, should I access my Gmail directly via my browser.