If you're one of the 40,000 users who was affected by the most recent Gmail bug, then you're probably wondering what you can do to backup your emails safely. It's probably a good idea to do this if you rely on Gmail for all of your emails. That being said, while you can use paid options, here are some free options that we've been using.
Use Multiple Gmail Accounts One of the easiest ways of backing up your emails is to use multiple email accounts. This allows you to hedge your bets with Gmail. For example, we have a 'nickname@gmail' account that forwards everything to our 'myname@gmail' account. Even if one of your email accounts is reset, you still have all of the others that work. A way to work with this is to actually create a Gmail account for backup purposes only. You can configure your main account to forward all incoming mail into a 'yourname_backup' Gmail account. Granted, the emails won't be sorted, but you'll have them backed up. The most recent email shortage affected 0.02% of users, so it's unlikely that all of your Gmail accounts will be hit by the same bug.
We've configured 3 Gmail accounts (personal, work, blog) with different user names to forward all of their email content to our main Gmail account, which serves as a sort of hub to manage all of our emails. We only log into our main email account and helpful labels allow us to quickly find which emails we need to address.
Use Email Software Using email software like Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Sparrow (OS X) will allow you to fetch your email using POP3 and store it on your computer. This ensure that you always have a local copy of your email on your computer, even if Gmail crashes or is reset. Mozilla Thunderbird is a nice free option to do this as well. The protocol will allow you to download emails and attachments. It's nice, because you can have offline access to your emails. If you're only planning on using the software to backup your emails, running it once a week to fetch your emails is prudent.
(Images: Flickr member Gubatron licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Jeff Werner licensed for use under Creative Commons)