Every once in a while I use Google Takeout (now called just "Download your Data" or something), to get a copy of all my stuff that Google holds.

Since the last time I did this (about six months ago), the .tbz (bzip2) compression method no longer seems to be available (just .tgz). Also, my email came down in an uncompressed mbox file, which surprised me. That plain text email is massively compressible.

Here is a screenshot from the download page:

enter image description here

Has there been any announcement about the compression methods available for Google Download your Data? I couldn't find anything with a reasonable search.

  • 2
    My comment is off the question, but gives some minor fact for anyone landing here by googling. The .tgz file is more efficient than .zip on 2 similar YouTube exports of 576 MB, the zip ratio was 99%, where the tgz was 94%.
    – edmundo096
    Commented Oct 25, 2020 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


Sorry about the confusion in Takeout's behavior a couple answers for you (disclosure I work on Takeout)

  1. Why is tbz gone? The usage numbers were extremely low. Zip and tgz had orders of magnitude more usage than tbz. We received a lot of feedback that tbz/tgz was a confusing choice, so we removed the tbz choice.

  2. Why is you mbox uncompressed? This has to do with the maximum archive size setting, in your screenshot it is set to 2GB, so for any file > 2GB we just export a raw file. To work around this choose a larger archive size, up to 50GB.
    (This behavior is most useful for zip on older clients where the default windows client doesn't support zip64 and hence larger zip files would be unreadable).

  3. Help center article is wrong. Sorry about that I'll see about getting updated.

  • Thanks for the answers! I took the screenshot after the fact, and had actually chosen .tgz with the 50 GB size limit. My uncompressed mbox file was about 8 GB. I compressed it with xz before putting it in cloud storage anyway, so it wasn't a big problem for me. Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 0:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.