A simple and easy way to back up your Google Docs

If you do a lot of your work on various computers in different locations (as I do), conveniently accessing your documents is important.

Though I carry a 2GB USB drive everywhere, I actually find it easier to use Google Docs and store my work ‘in the Cloud’, so to speak.

But, that amorphous blob of computing-storage could crash, or my Internet connection could be down. My productivity would end unless there was a way to backup and continue my work on my USB drive too. And there is.

FireFox + GreaseMonkey script + DownLoadThemAll == Solution
If you understood the above heading, then you can see how I solved it. If not, bear with me and all will become clear(er).

First, install and run FireFox. You can’t continue (and your browsing experience will be greatly improved) until you do.

Next, if you’ve not yet installed GreaseMonkey, do so now. This little application runs sophisticated scripts within your browser to improve your online experience. There’s a whole host of cool GreaseMonkey scripts to explore.

Thirdly, install DownloadThemAll — a nifty FireFox addon that automagically downloads all the links or images on a web page. You’ll see how that works for us after the next step.

Finally, install the Google Docs Download GreaseMonkey Script. This is the crux of the solution. To quote the documentation, once inside your Google Docs account:

Just navigate to the document list that you wish to download and select the documents you want to download by clicking their checkboxes or click the select: all link at the bottom of the page. Click the drop down menu on the right side of the page that reads “Download Your Documents” and select a format. A new window will open and you now have a list of links to download all of the documents that you selected.

The beauty of this script is that it you can select which format you’d like for output (PDF, TXT, CSV, Open Office or Microsoft Office), and it works with regular Google Docs accounts, as well as Google Apps for Domains accounts.

To summarize
By simply navigating to my Google Docs main directory, selecting ‘All Documents’ (making sure they’re all checked), and then launching the DownloadThemAll Add on (now in your FireFox Tools menu), I’ve easily created an editable local copy of all my work stored in the G-Cloud. And any work I do on a local copy can be easily imported (as a new file) back into Google Docs.

Admittedly, it’s not as easy as storing it all on a USB stick. But a stick can be lost, and I’d rather have my backup go south, than all my finished work should I actually lose the stick.

Your thoughts? Would this work for you or am I too paranoid?  🙂