Inevitably there will be times when, for some reason, you need to download your files – e.g. to clear space in your Drive account, to clear out obsolete material, or to use or store your files in some other place.
Google offers Google Takeout (https://www.google.com/settings/takeout) to help you with this. Takeout lets you build and download .zip archive files of your stuff.
You can select any of the services from the list provided. Exportable data currently includes:
- Google+ Circles
- Google+ Stream
- Google+ Pages
- Google Photos
- Google Play Books
- Google Code Project Hosting
By means of checkboxes you can choose to export everything available via the service, or choose one or more services from the list. Takeout will process the request, archiving all of your files into a .zip file.
When the archiving is complete, Takeout optionally sends you an email notification that the export has been completed, and informing you for how long the archive file will remain available for download:
Now you can download the archive from the downloads section of the website.
The downloaded .zip file contains a separate folder for each chosen service.
Note that for Google+ Page data, you may only export data from pages that you have created.
Note also that Google does not automatically delete your data after exporting it – if that’s what you want, you’ll have to do it separately.
UPDATE December 2014:
In addition to sprucing up the interface graphics with their newer material design style, Google have added two more items to the list of those available via this service; Tasks and Maps (your places).