Thursday, December 15, 2011

Would You Still Love the Cloud if It Shut You Out?

I received an email from Susan Clark today, the author of the Nolichucky Roots blog.  I've read Susan's genealogy blog for a long while and I'm also her Facebook friend.  She's hardly the sort of person that I would predict would run afoul of Big Brother but that is what has happened.

For reason unknown to her, Google has shut her down.  They have removed her blog, disabled her Google+ account and taken away access to her email account on gmail.

Does the cloud seem like such a safe place now?

This is not the first time Google has disabled an account.  You can read of another instance that was written about on Reuters.

Susan has tried to contact Google to no avail.  She has not been privy to what she did wrong. Nor can she defend herself.

What would you do if you used gmail as your main account and it suddenly got shut down?  How would you feel if your blog were removed and you had never backed it up? (Here are some instructions for backing up your Blogger blog)

The lessons learned from Susan's experience are ones that we should wisely heeded.  How dependent are you on Google and what would happen in they pulled the plug on your accounts?

Photo Credit: Photo by AMagill and used under the creative commons license.


  1. Although her account has been restored, it has made me plan a move to Wordpress in the near future.

  2. Marian, I know this is upsetting because I had my blog shut down by Google a few years back. The automated message in my blogger account informed me that I was considered a "Spam Blog".

    While it was certainly upsetting, I stayed calm and wrote to request a review of my blog. Yes it didn't happen overnight or even a few days but Google DID review my blog and decided I wasn't a spammer.

    I forget how long it took - perhaps a week? But my blog was reinstated without loss of any content.

    So please reassure your friend that it will probably be okay

  3. Luckily Susan has gained back access to her blog. She was able to find a setting that let her confirmed her identity by receiving a call or text on her cell phone.

    There's a big lesson to be learned here.

    Additionally, if you haven't added a cell phone number to your account (at least privately) maybe you should. It will be the simplest way for Google to identify you is this should happen.

  4. This is a great question and it does give one pause. My blog is now backed up! I think one of the fears about the trend to move everything to the cloud is that it is much more easy to censor people. Even inadvertently.

  5. Just another reason why I don't like my Gmail, blog and Google+ all connected to the same Google account.

  6. Thank you for the reminder to backup my blog. I had not yet done that. All backed up now, blog and template!

  7. I've been getting the "add your cell phone" message whenever I sign into my blog. Here's the big question: why would I want to provide Google with my private and well-guarded cell phone number, esp. since I don't give it to most people outside my family? Even though it's supposedly private, can I trust Google to always "do no evil???"

  8. Thanks for sharing my story of woe, Marian. It was an unnerving experience - one that has me considering parachutes!

    Mel, I was most reluctant to share my cell phone number with Google and only did it on the account linked to my blog. I'm now glad I did, because no other path I took to establish contact with Google worked.

    Still mulling over the lessons learned.

  9. Maybe a good reason to have more than one email addy?? with different groups?? I prefer cloud types, gmail, yahoo, hotmail. I have lost count how many I have between my own personal ones and ones I use for my volunteer persona.

    But being shut out, or having one of the systems go down is just NO fun. Remember when blogger kinda had an issue including lost then restored posts? There was a bucket load of screaming. Whew.

    We sure do love our computers and the net, and we sure do go ballistic when there are issues. Yes, I do! (poor attempt at a bit of humor at the end of another LONG day)

  10. Well now, if this isn't motivation to back up your blog and stay up to date on processing (read backing up to your computer) your email, I dont know what is. YES I'm. worried

  11. Well, not surprising. Way too much information and power in the hands of one company. And we're just the ants that can be tossed off the side of their mountain at any time with no explanation. Been there, had that done to me. You know that saying; don't put all your eggs in one basket. Best heeded here.

  12. That's positively frightening! The only way they could have thought Susan's blog was a spam blog was if they hadn't bothered to read it or at least look at it. Thanks for the words of caution.

  13. Mel, I know how you feel about the cell phone number. A lot of people feel that way. I got my cell phone to act as a business number. I want people to have it so I have posted it all over the internet. What I have found is that rarely do I ever get a phone call from a stranger unless the specifically want to call me about doing work for them in some capacity. Otherwise I just don't get random calls. I used it much more when I was a real estate agent than I do now and even then I wasn't getting random or bad calls.

    I'm not sure if you have other concerns about giving your number out but if it's in regards to increased calls or calls from the wrong people I have found that hasn't happened.