I’m a bit of an early adopter. I’m not on the bleeding edge of technology, but I’m out in front of many people.
I’ve been into Gmail for years, since back when you needed an invitation to get an account. I know the dangers of cloud computing; namely that your data is at the mercy of someone else. In Google’s case, that someone has no direct financial incentive to keep me happy. Their advertisers pay for my service, not me.
Google enticed me with other value-added services which made my daily life easier. All for the low price of ‘free’ and paid for by advertisers who mine my data in hopes of convincing me to buy something. I let it happen.
The Hydra slowly crept into my life. Gmail, Calendar, Documents, Reader, Picasa, Voice, Blogger – it all worked together seamlessly.
Until last night, when it ALL crashed and burned. Seamlessly. Years of email, software licenses, all my appointments, all my documents, and all of Project 365 — GONE. This blog would be gone if I hadn’t moved it to a self-hosted domain. The Blogspot account is gone.
Google had a small problem with Gmail yesterday, which only affected 150,000 or so accounts. They have been disabled ‘pending repairs.’ Google is being very tight lipped about when or if they will return, and they won’t say anything about potential data loss. All I get is an error message stating something about violating their Terms of Service.
I’m no spammer, I don’t file share, and all of my photos are my own work. I highly doubt I’ve violated their ToS. Buried deep in their ToS, however, is this ominous line:
Google reserves the right to terminate your account at any time, for any reason, with or without notice.
And without compensation, of course.
So I’m scrambling. I’ve set up a new email address on a domain I own. As long as I pay the server bills, it shouldn’t get shut down. (If you correspond with me, please drop me a line via the Contact Form. It has my new address, and I need yours again.) I’m beginning to seriously question the wisdom of setting up a business on a Google Voice phone line, but there’s little I can do about it for now. At least I can still forward it to my cell phone and use AT&T’s voicemail. I can find alternatives for most everything else, but I will miss Google Reader.
I will probably still find ways to use the Cloud for data backup, but it will never again be my primary storage. You can say, “I told you so,” and I’m saying this to you now: Get out while you can.
Even if my account were fixed tonight, I’d have a hard time trusting it again. It’s too easy for a mistake or a hacker to take out my entire digital identity. So goodbye, Google, it was nice knowing you.