If you use iGoogle, you’ll  be happy to know that there are actually options to backup, export or import your iGoogle personalized homepage. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the settings page for your iGoogle homepage found at www.google.com/ig/settings
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the Troubleshooting and Export/Import sections as shown below:
    igoogle settings

You’ll need to decide whether you want to just manually backup your iGoogle page or if you actually want to Export all of your settings to your computer as an XML file which can be imported at a later date. Manually backing-up your iGoogle page just means that when you click “backup,” Google will be sure to, at that moment, create a backup of your page on their servers. That way if you were to have any issues with your page (maybe you made some changes that you didn’t like), you could go back and click “Restore Now” to get it back the way you had it. If you decide to export your settings, you’ll actually have a file on your computer which you can import later on should something happen to your page. This would include all of your tabs, gadgets, layouts, and themes that you used on your iGoogle page.

Now you’re probably wondering how this would be useful, right? The one thing that came to mind when I was thinking about a backup solution for a website was Gmail. There have been multiple instances where Gmail users lost everything in their accounts after Google had issues with the service (read here, here, and here). Knowing it has happened to Gmail users makes me wonder if an outage could cause users to lose all of their iGoogle data at some point. If it happened, then those who exported an XML file with all of their settings could easily get everything back.

These types of backup features help users be more confident that they won’t lose their data, and it would actually be nice to see a back-up solution for other web services like social networks and email. There are several reasons why we could see services decide not to offer such an option. One reason is that they might not want others to view them as unreliable (does Google view themselves as unreliable? Or are they just try to help their users rest assured that nothing will happen to their pages?). Another reason we thought of was with an email service like Gmail.  If Gmail offered a way to download all of your emails (a backup), a competitor (like Yahoo or Hotmail) could create an importer so that it would be easy to switch to a new service and have all of your messages.

If you could pick any web service to offer a backup solution, which service would you pick?

Source: Google Operating System