Saturday, June 25, 2016

You can take it with you! Moving your Google account with GradGopher

Change is a part of life:

  • You are a high school student, then you graduate.
  • You are in college, then your graduate again.
  • You get a job.
  • You move from one job to another (repeat as needed).
  • You retire from your job.

At each stage it is very possible you may have a Google account. Google Apps may be used at your high school, your college, and any one of your jobs. Not to mention the personal Gmail account you may have.

So what happens to your Google account when you graduate high school, graduate college, move from one job to another, and eventually retire? You will have built up years of emails, contacts, documents, slideshows, and much more. Is there an easy way to take all those files and all that data with you? What would be great would be a simply tool to copy all of your files to a different Google account (such as your personal Gmail account).

Google does provide an option called Google Takeout, which is nice, but has some drawbacks. Most notably, Takeout converts all your Google files into other formats, such as Microsoft Office format, so instead of transferring your files to another Google account, the files are all converted into something non-Google. Also, Takeout only exports files you own, but not files that are shared with you

And of course there is the option of copying all of your files manually. You could share all your files to a different Google account, and then make copies of them all. This can take quite a long time, although there are nice add-ons such as Copy Folder that can help with this.

Thankfully there is another option which is an easy solution in the form of a tool called GradGopher. This low cost service will copy all of your Gmail messages, Calendar entries, Contacts, and Drive files to a different Google account. See below for a step-by-step overview of how the service works.


Overview

GradGopher is an online service that copies your data from one Google account to another.  This includes your Gmail messages, Calendar events, Contacts, and all Drive files.

The transfer can be between any two Google accounts. The name GradGopher makes it sound like just a service for graduating students to take their files with them, but actually it works great for any account transfer including:

  • Google Apps account to personal Google account - for when you graduate high school or college, or get a new job, or retire from your job.
  • One Google Apps domain to another Google Apps domain - for when you work for a school district, but then get a new job at a different school district.
  • A personal Google account to another personal Google account - for when you get a new Gmail account (marriage, name change, etc) and want to move all your data.

GradGopher does have a cost of $20. However if you have loads of emails, Drive files, contacts, and calendar events, it may be well worth that price for you to have all your files easily copied.

Note: For the purpose of this blog post, GradGopher provided me with a free trial of the service to evaluate the service.

Before You Begin

Before you use GradGopher you need to have two Google accounts.

  • Source - One account is the account you want to copy from. This will be your school account now that you are graduating, or your work account now that you are retiring, or such.
  • Destination - The second account is the account you are copying to. This could be your normal personal Gmail account, or an account at your new school or job, or a brand new account you created just for the purpose of collecting all of your data.

For my evaluation of GradGopher I used:

  • Source - A test account from a Google Apps for Education domain. This is an account I use a lot to test things out so it had lots of random emails, Drive files, and such.
  • Destination - I created a new Gmail account to receive a copy of all the test account files.


The Process

Step #1 - Access GradGopher

To begin the process, start by going to the GradGopher website at https://www.gradgopher.com
Click on the “Go-Pher It” link or “Go-pher my copy!” link (or whatever other gopher-related pun they currently have).



Step #2 - Sign into your source account

Now you will need to click the “Sign in with Google” button for the account you want to copy from. GradGopher refers to this account as “My School Account” but again it can be any Google account you wish to copy from.


If you are already signed into the account in your browser, you can simply click on the account to choose it. If you are not signed in yet, you will need to click “Add account” to sign in.


You will now get a list of permissions GradGopher needs. Click the “Allow” button to continue.


Step #3 - Sign into your destination account

Now you will need to click the “Sign in with Google” button for the account you want to copy to. GradGopher refers to this account as “My Personal Account” but again it can be any Google account you wish to copy to.


Just like before, if you are already signed into the account in your browser, you can simply click on the account to choose it. If you are not signed in yet, you will need to click “Add account” to sign in.

Again you will get a list of permissions GradGopher needs. Click the “Allow” button to continue.


Step #4 - Choose what to copy

If you want to copy everything over, you can skip this step. However, if you want to choose what gets copied, you can click the “What will be copied?” link to manually tweak the settings.



Step #5 - Submit your payment

You can now click the “Proceed to Checkout” button and enter you payment information. GradGopher costs $20, although there is an option to save $5 by sharing about it on social media.


Step #6 - Start the copy!

After you pay and proceed, GradGopher will begin to copy your Gmail messages, Calendar events, Contacts, and Drive files from your source account to your destination account.



Since everything is happening in the cloud, you can exit from the GradGopher site and the service will continue to copy your files. You will get an email when the process if complete.


The Results

When GradGopher is complete, your Gmail messages, Calendar events, Contacts, and Drive files will have been copied over to your destination account. If you already had data in your destination account, GradGopher simply adds the new data to the existing data.

In each case GradGopher will use a unique five character job code to help identify the new information that has been copied. In my test, the job code was “TZ1HN”. See below for how the copied data shows up in each of these services.

Gmail

Your copied email messages will all be placed into a folder (label) named by your job code. Any folders (labels) you had in the source account will be placed under the job code folder with all of their messages inside.


Drive

Your copied Drive files will all be placed into a folder named by your job code. Any folders you had in the source account will be placed under the job code folder with all of their files inside.


Calendar

New calendars will be created to match your old calendars, with the job code appended on the front of the original calendar names. All of the old events will be copied to the new calendars.


Contacts

Your copied contacts will all be placed into a group named by your job code. Any contacts groups you had in the source account will be recreated and named with the job code appended on the front of the original group names.



Odds and Ends

All in the all, the GradGopher process is very simple. Data from a source account is copied to a destination account. Having said that, there are a few things that should be stated for clarity.

  • Your files, emails, events, and contacts are COPIED not SHARED. What you are getting in your destination account are not the original files. You are getting copies of them.
  • Sharing permissions and comments do not copy with a file. If the original file or calendar was shared with several people, that will NOT be the case with the copy. The copied file will be private to your new account.
  • All of the files, emails, and other data from your source account will still be in your source account. The files were copied not moved. Therefore your school or work will still have access to the original source files.
  • Note: The reason that the data is copied and not moved is because file ownership can only be transferred within a domain. You cannot change ownership of a file from a Google Apps domain to a personal Google account, or from one Google Apps domain to a different Google Apps domain.


Conclusion

So is GradGopher worth the $20 cost to move your data from one Google account to another? That is something you will have to decide for yourself, but what I can say is:

  • The service is very simple to use.
  • And it works. Emails, files, events, and contacts are copied successfully.

GradGopher is certainly a good option to consider for a student graduating from high school or college, or a person moving from one job to another, or retiring from a  job. Life changes are often challenging enough on their own. With GradGopher, taking your data with you no longer has to be a part of the challenge.


Post by Eric Curts. Connect with Eric on Twitter at twitter.com/ericcurts and on Google+ at plus.google.com/+EricCurts1

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