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Another cloud fail: disappearing Google accounts

Every time a story like this runs it sets back cloud computing. Many users of Google Mail reported yesterday a problem with missing email:

I was on my eMail normally and when I refreshed all my account settings, eMail, labels, contacts etc has just disappeared.

Google’s App Status Dashboard has a series of updates:

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It does say that the issue affects “less than 0.08% of the Google Mail userbase”. While that does not sound much, if Google Mail has 150 million users that would be 120,000 people. Of those accounts, only a proportion will be critical as some of us use Gmail only casually; but some people are severely inconvenienced:

This really is wildly inconvenient and worrisome, though. I rely on my Gmail an enormous amount for my job, and not having access to it is really crippling me. I can’t even do my work at this point, because all the material I need is in attachments on Gmail, so all I can do is wait until I (hopefully) get it back! I suppose I should have saved my files to my computer, but hindsight is 20/20.

Google is indicating that it will restore the data soon though it is all rather vague.

Of course there are also failed Exchange Servers and the like out there; sometimes backups fail too and data is lost. Cloud providers like Google do tend to lack transparency though, making times like this anxious ones for those who are affected.

The real lesson: if you have data you really care about, keep it in more than one place.

Related posts:

  1. Disappearing cloud APIs: a new legacy software problem in the making
  2. Hands on with Google Cloud Connect: Microsoft docs in Google’s cloud
  3. Google Native Client: browser apps unleashed, or misconceived and likely to fail?
  4. Mad or brilliant? Google Chrome OS will print via the cloud
  5. The UK government and the cloud: to Google or not to Google?

1 comment to Another cloud fail: disappearing Google accounts

  • Niclas Lindgren

    Although if you are running outlook, chances are you are running it in cached mode, which means your data is in 2 different places at the same time, so the server and your local copy needs to be compromised for you to not be able to work. And for you to lose your data at least 3 copies need to be compromised. And one is under your total control.

    I see this as a huge weakness for web-based applications, something that maybe HTML-5 storage can mitigate to some point. But soon we will just have a browser that does everything the OS did 15 years ago for applications.