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Friday, February 22, 2013

Google randomly disables my gmail account - Can someone help me?

I woke up yesterday morning, grabbed my iPad to check my mail and there was a pop up message on the screen about my personal gmail account password being incorrect.  At some point in the middle of the night, Google disabled my account.  Of course, there's no email sent to me prior to that explaining why and no email sent to my secondary email address. When you try to login, you get sent to http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&p=feedburner&ctx=ch_ServiceLoginAuth&answer=40695, which is really not very helpful.

So, at the moment, I've lost access to over 200,000 emails (yes, I know that's a stupid number, but  once you hit a certain point, it's impossible to try to delete stuff) that have been collected since 2005. If you do the math, it's from receiving about 70 emails a day.  They really add up.  On top of that, I've lost my personal calendar, address book, Latitude, Feedburner account, all of my Picasa photos, Youtube account, Google Apps, RSS reader, Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Voice, Bookmarks, Google Sync and Google + account access.  That's a lot of stuff.

Of course, very little of it was backed up.  I can at least access the blog because I had added additional accounts to it because you never know which account you're logged into at the time.  Google has a disabled account page where you put in your email address, an alternative address and a comment box asking what you were doing at the time of the deactivation.  Uh...I was sleeping.

I'm sure this will get resolved, but this is a huge problem with the cloud, free services and even paid services when you don't know if a company will go out of business tomorrow.  I do pay Google $20 a year for extra storage on that account and I do get a check from Google every month for AdSense ads.  For a company that made $29 Billion last year, profits from all of our data, you'd think there would be a human to talk to or at least an email as to what Terms of Service where allegedly violated.  I have a Google Business account and called their tech support help.  They couldn't help me, but did send me an email with some helpful links.  One of them, http://www.jonasblog.com/how-to-successfully-recover-a-disabled-gmail-account, was the same one my wife sent me in the morning.  Supposedly, you get an answer from Google in 48 hours, but it could take several attempts to resolve this.

Lessons learned? Backup everything.  If you have accounts like Dropbox, Evernote, Lastpass or any other web service that links back to a free account, change the email address to one that there's no chance of losing.  I don't think I was hacked because I have 2 Step Verification on my Google account, and just this past Saturday, changed all of my various account passwords, and found a great site, http://howsecureismypassword.net/, that said that it would take 157 billion years for a PC to crack the password I had set up for my Gmail account.

So, today, I hate Google.  I hate Microsoft even more and at least I'm not annoyed with Autodesk today.  I do still love Apple, so that's at least a good thing.  Evernote is fantastic this morning so that keeps me going.  As we move all of our stuff to the cloud, we're going to be held hostage by the technology companies.  There is no recourse with Google to talk to someone and find out what's going on.  I think I'll start calling Google, "Data of America", "Best Data" or "ComData", since the customer service of Google is now as bad as Bank of America, Best Buy and Comcast.

I'm just hoping that someone from Google reads this and can help me resolve the issue. You can email me at google@bimbuilder.com and I'll give you the account details of the problem account.

I can't be mad at a Google person directly since account disabling is done by a computer.  As we get more dependent on technology, we need to have a backup plan of what to do in case of emergency.  If the entire Google system stopped tomorrow, it would be devastating to the world economy.  Google is now like a utility company and that private/public overlap needs to have oversight when it comes to customers.  Do we have any recourse with a free account?  Did you ever read the license agreement?

What if all of your parents medical records, medicine, appointments and information were kept in your Google account, they shut disable it randomly and something terrible happens? Would Google be liable in any way?  Would that be considered manslaughter if a death resulted from this?  Well, at least, by some miracle, I still have my BIM blog, which is the only thing left and my most important piece of Google, so I can tell you about it here.

Now, Google, please, fix my account!!!!!!!


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Tony February 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM  

I have thought about this happening to me, and I've hesitated about putting too much of my data on the cloud just for that reason. As well as secondary concerns about privacy and someone accessing my data.

That said, much of my life is held by Google -- probably 75% of all my email, ever. my contacts, my calendar, and a virtual ton of documents that I've been attaching to emails for years as an early (free) hack at cloud storage.

I recently got a 3TB external drive that allows remote access so that I can make my own cloud. This will give me remote access AND control over my data.
You have just motivated me to actually get it set up this weekend.

Best of luck!

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