Monday, May 27, 2013

Mass Back-up or transfer Gmail chats via IMAP

I have a full load of saved chat history in my gmail and was long searching (and waiting) for an automated method to back them up because manually forwarding them would be crazy (and chats don't get downloaded via POP3, or till recently via any method for that matter). All other work-arounds involved scripts, use of which violated gmail's terms of service and could get your account permanently blocked. I've just tested this one and finally backed up all my chat history. Hope it saves you the effort, if you want to as well and haven't found a way yet. Using this method you can effectively duplicate your gmail account to another (even gmail) ID that supports IMAP. Yes, POP3 was always there, but unlike that IMAP keeps same labels (folders in other services) etc and copies everything exactly. IMAP is not new either but unlike before gmail supports chats transfer now which I just found given my gaps of searches after almost being disheartened on this thing. Feel free to ask me for clarifications on this or share if there's a better method for such.

Method 1 (obsolete; a better method is now available):

Method two (simplest):

Note: use a free online IMAP sync like (this one has one trial per account as of now) so that you can sync to another online account instead of your cell or hardisk. Tell me too if you have a better IMAP service that syncs online accounts without charging.

[Update: Movemymail now only allows transfer of 250 messages for free. Now you can also enable IMAP as mentioned below and use hotmail to bring in your mail including chats as hotmail now provides the option of importing email via IMAP. You can also use a PTCL email account.]

Preview of site for ease of access >>

You can backup Gmail chat logs with Gmail Keeper now!

A good news! You can backup your chat logs in Gmail now with Gmail Keeper!
To do that, the first step is to enable IMAP access for your chats (this was not possible not long ago), illustrated in the following screenshot.

Update: This was first down by enabling the advanced IMAP controls lab, now this lab has graduated and is a permanent feature. Just enable IMAP in gmail, save the changes and the "show in IMAP" option will be available to check or uncheck in the labels section.

Then, in the backup settings window in Gmail Keeper, you must set ‘Chats‘ is a ‘Label’ when being asked, as shown in the following screenshot.

And the backed up gmail chats will be stored in eml format just like the ordinary emails. Check the screenshot below to have a look how the chat logs look like in the free Thunderbird email client program.

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