...they've just announced the ability to export documents en-masse in a number of open (and not so open) standard formats:
A couple weeks ago, the Google Docs team launched a multi-file uploader to make it much easier for you to put files into the cloud. Today we're launching a new feature to make it much easier to get your content out: "Convert, Zip and Download."
Select one or more files and then click on "Export" from the "More Actions" menu. Next, pick the format (e.g. PDF, Microsoft Word, etc) you want for your exported files. Finally, click "Continue" and we'll give you a nice zip file to download that has all your content.
For now, you can "export" up to 500 MB of content in a single zip file, which is over 20,000 typical files. Sometimes it takes us a few minutes to export really large amounts of files, so instead of making you wait, we added an "Email when ready" option. We'll send you a link when the zip file is ready.
With no fanfare or as much as an official announcement, Google has taken an important step in making users' Google Docs more open and portable.
As of today, severalbloggers have reported seeing this new feature, which allows users to grab all their Google Docs and batch export them as a zip file. Files can be exported in a number of formats, including Microsoft Office and Open Office formats. Users can also choose to export only certain types of docs, e.g., spreadsheets and slide decks only.
The process is simple: Users select the documents they wish to export, click "More actions," then "Export."
If a user is particularly pressed for time or has a larger chunk of data to export, he can also choose to navigate away and receive an email when the export is finished.
Unfortunately, any folders a user may have created or data related to authorship or shared documents do not seem to be included once documents are exported.
Open Cloud = Open Formats + Open Interfaces
Here we have the open formats and over here the [mostly] open interface, but there's a catch... [some of] the metadata's missing - critical metadata relating to organisation and sharing (security) of documents, without which migration is difficult if not impossible to automate.
That's why the Open Cloud Principles (OCP) specify that "All user data and metadata must be represented in Open Standard formats", in addition to the requirement that "All functionality must be exposed by way of Open Standard APIs.".