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You Got Googled

Google is a pretty good search engine, Gmail is a decent (though intrusive) e-mail system and Google Maps doesn't make nearly as many dumb mistakes as MapQuest. And Google Apps are generally pretty good. All this goodness makes it an easy choice for many to move their computing lives over to the Google cloud.

But here's a cautionary tale from a man who calls himself Thomas Monopoly (but whose real first name appears to be Dylan).

Dylan, er Tom, trusted Google enough to put photos, videos, calendars, documents, e-mail messages and his e-mail address, as well as bookmarks, contacts and banking info into the Google cloud. Oh, and his Web site, for which he paid, was also Google-driven.

All was fine until a Google computer decided that Tom, er Dylan, violated its terms of service, but apparently offered no details. All of Dylan's, er Tom's data, Web site, and e-mail address were purged. Gone for good.

With most companies you can at least reach a real person -- however, the outcome may not always be satisfactory. For Tom, er Dylan, all he got was Web and e-mail support from Google supporters. He finally heard from a real Google employee who tried to help to no avail.

I love the cloud, but only use it for ancillary tasks and for backup.

What is your experience? Come clean at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 07/27/2011 at 1:18 PM


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Reader Comments:

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 Jim McNelis United States

Who's to say Thomas/Dylan didn't violate the TOS? This is a one-sided non-story.

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 Anon

What you're really trying to say is that they don't have humans for support staff?

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 Alan

What? No backups for Google to restore from?

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 Jon von Gunten Los Angeles

Having some functions in the cloud can provably save money and steps. (Why does this topic always remind me of dumb terminals hooked up to Tymshare?) And cloud functions are unavoidable for retailers, especially multi-channel ones. But the wisest have retail technology with full on-site capability as fallback. Just as you know you will someday suffer a catastrophic data loss--and have already planned for that--you will someday endure a day or week sans cloud. Be sure to have on-site stop-gaps to keep your functions moving. Don't follow the fashionable fad and be first to flaunt your new ruffles. Be the one in sensible shoes.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011

Anybody who puts the ONLY copy of any mission-critical, sensitive, or personally precious data sets in the 'cloud', or in the hands of ANY party not known to them, is a fool. ALWAYS have a plan B. I feel sorry for the guy and all, but can you say 'Single Point Of Failure'?

Wed, Jul 27, 2011

I think a similar thing happened to a photographer using the cloud. Once day all data was gone, though after a bit of work it was recovered by the service. Once you give up control...

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 Frederick Lins United States

Same thing happened to my on Yahoo.com several years ago. They deleted my my email, my website, and confiscated my web domain. All this with no personal contact.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 Greg

"Tom, er Dylan" - could you use it a hundred more times??!!! Once is enough, we get it!!!!

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