there is no out-of-the-box method of easily backing up your gmail messages, but you CAN use a POP3 client to pull a copy of your messages off the server (make sure in your configuration, that you leave a copy on the server, otherwise it will remove the only copy) and that will save them locally to your computer.
there is no zip or tar/gz export feature in gmail as of yet. the POP3 method would allow you to save full copies of each message in your inbox, along with attachments. depending on what email client you use for this, there may be an export feature that you could use with it.
contacts are easily backed up in 2 formats, vcard and google csv. i export and keep both for good measure. this is easily done from the gmail web interface under "more actions".
also, thunderbird IMAP has a feature that enables offline storage, where it backs up all synchronized folders. that's what i use. it is IMAP, so it runs fast and downloads only headers for new messages, but will backup the measure in a restore-able format for the just-in-case scenario once the full message is downloaded/accessed.
consequently, my gmail was ok ... shwew!
hope this helps
Had no warning. Got logged out of google chat on my Droid and when I tried to log on my computer, it said ALL my accounts have been disabled. I keep my calendar on google plus several important messages and contacts. I can't access Market now on my Droid because my phone used that particular email address (and I came here to figure out how to undo it). I also have a blog I've kept for 4 hours online under another email and I won't be able to access that as well.
I've sent many emails and filled out "forms" but so far, either sent a request to fill out more forms or no answer to my problem. I'm sweating it.
If I were part of that percentage, would that mean that my messages are also gone when I check my gmail account on my Macbook Pro? Gmail is my the only email that I have set up on the Macbook Pro.
This is my biggest fear about cloud networking. Unless a company has a very good redundancy plan I see these things happening more and more often. If I accidently delete something at home, it's my fault, I'd be mad but if someone else does it on some server elsewhere. Anyways, so far I'm unaffected.