Google is set to begin deleting data from its beleaguered social network, Google+ in April, but before that happens, the Internet Archive and the ArchiveTeam say that they are working to preserve public posts on the platform before they vanish forever.
In a post on Reddit, the sites announced that they had begun their efforts to archive the posts using scripts to capture and back up the data in an effort to preserve it. The teams say that their efforts will only encompass posts that are currently available to the public: they won’t be able to back up posts that are marked private or deleted. They also urge people who don’t want their content to be archived to delete their accounts, and pointed to a procedure to request the removal of specific content. They also note that they won’t be able to capture everything: comment threads have a limit of 500 comments, “but only presents a subset of these as static HTML. It’s not clear that long discussion threads will be preserved.” They also say that images and video won’t be preserved at full resolution.
Google announced that it would shutter the social media service last October after a major security issue that exposed user data came to light. At the time, it noted that the service had “low usage and engagement” from users, and that most sessions lasted only around 5 seconds. After revelations of a second security breach, Google moved up its timeline to close down the service, and announced earlier this year that it would begin deleting consumer data on April 2nd. In February, Google shut down the ability to create new profile pages and communities.
The two teams touted their mission to preserve parts of the internet for people to look at in the future, and cites their efforts to save content from websites before they vanish, such as with Tumblr and Flickr.