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March 10, 2006

Don't trust Google with your data

Posted 4300 days ago on March 10, 2006

That's the message of this incident documented here and here. I've already blogged this, and I'm adding updates to the earlier blog entry, but I'm highlighting it in a new post since it strikes me as particularly to-the-point after Google's takeover of Writely.

Sure, it's stating the obvious. Free service, no one to call for support, no SLA (Service Level Agreement), user's risk, right? Indeed; but working out a backup strategy isn't necessarily easy, especially if you embrace the full Web 2.0, work-on-the-go meme. Whether or not this particular user gets his deleted mail back, he's successfully highlighted the questions anyone should ask before using a Google service (or similar) for data that matters. What's the disaster recovery plan?

I think we are seeing the downside of the ad-financed service model. Paid-for subscription suddenly looks like a really good idea.


Re: Don't trust Google with your data

Posted 4300 days ago by Rob... • • wwwReply

Paid for subscription is only half the story. All that does is incentivise the company to give you support when things go wrong. It also means that the company will have enough cash to afford to backup your data.

Things will still go wrong.

For me to trust my data to a service providor, I have to be able to do my own backup/restore from within the application. GMail's POP3 interface is not what I'd consider a backup/restore function for normal people.


Re: Don't trust Google with your data

Posted 4300 days ago by Tim Anderson • • • Reply

I agree Rob; but even with your own backup you still need someone to yell at if the online repository breaks, corrupts or disappears.


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