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Sun, 26 Dec 2010
Google Service
# 11:36 in ./general

A couple of months ago, Google suspended my GMail account for something they called "suspicious activity". This locked me out of my Google mail, RSS reader, calendar and everything else.

I've come across a few stories online about people experiencing this sort of thing. A big problem seems to be that Google don't have any customer support, other than online help pages and groups. There's no one you can contact via email or telephone and they don't tell you what the problem was. If you don't have a contact (perhaps inside Google), you're at their mercy, perhaps stuffed .... This is not good. This lack of information and contact just makes you feel powerless and is the most frustrating aspect of it all.

I have no idea what the problem was and my account seemed to come back after an hour or so. I am normally logged in to Gmail from at least two computers (home,work) and also my phone. Funny thing is - my phone carried on working (thank goodness) and could access the account.

The end result of this, and seeing others experience worse, has made me much more cautious about a "cloud" service like Google, even though I generally like the company and use its services all the time. I am not quite at the Stallman level of paranoia but am getting there.

I don't mind Google suspending an account temporarily while they investigate. Being concerned about security myself, this protects me as well. But they need to improve their communications :

  • Indicate what sort of "activity" triggered the suspension.
  • Communicate how long this investigation might take (initially at least). Perhaps aim for a couple of hours at most.
  • Supply some way of querying the issue with a human e.g. an email address. This might only need to be sent out to people who do not have the issue resolved within the initial investigation timescale.

The reason I thought about this topic just now was seeing a comment on an article about the Google CR-48 "cloud netbook".

Thu, 23 Dec 2010
After the Interval ...
# 14:12 in ./general

Well, oh dear, oh dear ... It's been a while and it's probably the commonest trajectory for a blog. Enthusiasm initially, followed by some diminishing posts, leading to a trickle and then none.

Well, not quite dead yet anyway.

Let's see if I can do any better over the next few days. I'll try not to eat or drink too much over christmas, and keep my wits about me (famous last words).

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Still going after all these years.