August 05, 2008 |
Today Chris Brogan shares a story of his colleague at CrossTech Media Nick Saber losing access to his Google account completely. The only thing he could access was the search page itself while everything that required a user to be logged in was not accessible: his account credentials did not work and the only thing he got was "Sorry, your account has been disabled."
This tweet from Nick himself shows that he was deprived of all the Google services for over 24 hours. Nick emailed Google support only to find out that the investigation of the case has been completed but the account has not been returned back to normal since the conclusion of the investigation was not definitive.
This post drew my attention immediately because something similar happened last week to my husband who suddenly found that his Google account credentials he had been using for many months refused to let him in. Fortunately in his case it seemed to be nothing but a minor glitch and after he cleared all the cookies in his browser (all, not Google-related only), Google finally let him in with the same log in and password. But the hour that he was struggling with the account was a real ordeal and I think I have never seen him scared more than at that moment.
But these examples are only two of the multitude that we've seen (and some of us experienced) while the problem is much deeper. This is the problem of having a monopoly that many of us rely heavily on simply because we either trust Google or think all their products are of superb quality.
And while the quality of the products and apps that Google provides is often superior to that of competitors (sometimes because the internet giant simply buys the best products in the market), I think that if you are left without access to all your usual tools at once, you may realize that you would have been better off if you diversified your use of web apps and maybe used some desktop applications in addition to at least keep some of your important information to yourself.
I myself feel at least a little safer having a desktop email client for my Gmail account to which I download all my emails daily – at least if for some reason I am not allowed into Gmail any more, I will be able to access my previous messages and let all my contacts know the new place to find me. Same can be true if you store your photos on Picasa – you may not like Yahoo all that much but having the same photos on Flickr will not hurt if you can't access Picasa itself any more.
In this time when many of us rely on Google Reader almost 100% for our daily news consumption, at least exporting OPML file once a week to hard drive may also be reasonable at the very least. The same goes for Google Docs: I will be sure to back up all my files weekly from now on since I do have some important ones there.
Any monopoly may be dangerous and painting ourselves into a Google corner does not sound like a wise thing to do any more so I think many of us will have to rethink our approach to using Google services for all our important professional or personal tasks, after all. No matter how reliable any third-party application is, it will always control you to a certain extent. And can you really imagine that you can't access all of your Google services and information you provide the internet giant? Does not it sound like a nightmare?
Photo of Ask.com anti-Google campaign on the London tube by Larsz used under Creative Commons.