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Google+ Account Suspensions Over ToS Drawing Fire 560

ideonexus writes "Reports of Google+ deleting user accounts are all over, including Limor Fried — AKA Lady Ada / Adafruit Industries (recently featured in Wired Magazine) and former Google employee Kirrily 'Skud' Robert for violating Google's identity ToS. Other users are finding themselves locked out of their accounts without an explanation of how they violated the ToS. The worst part for these individuals is that a lock-out of Google+ includes being locked out of all Google services, including email, calendar, and documents."
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Google+ Account Suspensions Over ToS Drawing Fire

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  • by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:31AM (#36860896) Homepage

    would get his account suspended, too...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've been locked in Google+ for a week now....please send help...running low on air...heeeellllllppppp!

    • Re:LOCKED OUT!? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by BrokenHalo ( 565198 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @10:36AM (#36862586)
      I was wondering about that. But for those of us who use Android phones, such a lockout could be a real show-stopper if one were reliant on a single gmail account for syncing emails, contacts and calendar. Since Google is a private company, and you don't pay for their services, you could be well and truly fucked if Google (for whatever reason) decides you are persona non grata. You would have absolutely no redress whatsoever, at least within any useful timescale.

      Makes me sort of glad that I have insulated myself (somewhat) by using K9 mail as an interface to my (non-G)mail accounts and keep everything else backed up elsewhere.
      • Re:LOCKED OUT!? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Miamicanes ( 730264 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @01:05PM (#36863476)

        Actually, it's worse... your paid apps are bound to your gmail identity as well.

        If they locked an Android owner out of not only his contact list and gmail, but effectively revoked the purchase of every paid Market app without refunding the purchase price, I can see a lawsuit regardless of what their TOS might say. Just ask Capital One how well "universal default" stood up to judicial scrutiny once challenged (that was their practice of instantly jacking up all of your interest rates to the maximum if you had a late payment reported to a credit bureau by ANYONE... even if it was an error, due to somebody else's screw-up, or something like a medical bill that was tied up with a health insurance claim. With Android, at least, Google definitely crossed the line from "free" to "paid service", and there's a limit to how trigger-happy you can be with TOS violations before it becomes fraud.

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:35AM (#36860902) Homepage
    There have been some claims that this is an example Google being evil but this seems more like incompetence and hamfistedness than evil. This would be silly and minor if not for the reports that some of these people can't access their other Google products they use. Many people use gmail for their primary email. If any of these people use it for business they could be actively losing money from this. But this does lead to two basic lessons which are apparently not repeated enough: First, when you use a free service you get what you paid for. Second, backing things up is always a good idea.
    • The trouble is you are debating "being evil" over "doing evil". That is, "Don't Be Evil" rather than "Don't Do Evil" is a distraction - it means that when Google does something that's just fucking obnoxious, people start debating the inner content of their hearts rather than that they're doing something they should damn well stop doing. Excellent piece of derailing, that slogan.

      • by impaledsunset ( 1337701 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @03:55AM (#36861196)

        Perhaps we should all cancel our Google+ accounts, stating that we do it because:
        1. We strongly disagree with the policy that makes our entire Google account for all services disappear for just breaking Google+ policy
        2. (optional) We disagree with the policy that we shouldn't be able to use a pseudonym on Google+
        3. We disagree with having to provide an identification or other proof for our names - this should be required only for a kind of a light version of a verified account

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

 is followed by Is Google+ the George takei of the internet?

      • Making a distinction between intent and action is quite important. Intent (along with historical performance, yes) has relevance to future action. Good Samaritan laws exist because people know there's a difference.

        If Google were believed to be evil (malicious in intent), you could expect them not to clean this mess up. I don't think they're evil per se (it's complicated), so I expect they'll at least disentangle Gmail lockouts from Google+ lockouts.

        • The thing is, past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. Intent is *thought of* as a predictor, and put forward as a predictor, but is not in practice a good one.

          "You're pulling unacceptable bullshit, Google, over and over."
          "But we're not evil!"
          "Really? Oh, that's OK then."

          The brochure doesn't matter. Observe the actions and extrapolate back to predictions; ignore the bleatings.

          • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @11:06AM (#36862792)
            Exactly. Stop listening and start watching.

            Its true at the poker tables. Its true in politics. Its true in business.

            Stop listening to what they say and start watching what they do. You will find, especially with politics, that what they are most vocal about (ex: Democrats always making tax-the-rich statements) is exactly the opposite of what they do (ex: Democrats had unchallenged power but amazingly found an excuse not to raise taxes on anyone.)

            In poker you nearly always find a person at the poker table talking about how great a player he or she is.. but when you watch what they actually do at the table (instead of listening to them talk,) you see a whole different thing than what they are saying.

            So now we have Google again messing up their "social" services (remember what happened with Google Buzz?) in different (but no-less-evil) ways.

            Google also starting blatantly copying copyrighted works without permission in order to force a lawsuit they could use to get the government to give them carte-blanch on any works they claim that they cannot contact the owner of.

            Then of course Google was driving vans up and down nearly every street in the western world and packet sniffing wireless networks, capturing emails and other assorted stuff. Half a terabyte of this data is in Googles hands right now.

            ..and lest we not forget the extremely extensive amount of tracking Google does.

            (no need to mention Google's actions in China!)

            They say "Don't be evil" but they seem to do a hell of a lot of it.
    • Regardless of whether "evil" it is certainly incompetent and hamfisted: "Oh, hey guys! Let's ensure that our product's debut continues to get good press(and doesn't stir up any 'is Google getting too powerful?' articles by locking out a number of fairly high-profile geeks who sometimes like to use nicknames! And, just so it looks really petty, let's hit the ones whose real names are well known and associated with those nicknames, and lock out enough random users without explanation that quotes-from-disgrunt
    • by Marble68 ( 746305 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @03:05AM (#36860992) Homepage

      As a G+ problem - I've seen several people report this and almost always it comes down to something like this:
      The ToS for Google services have various criteria.
      When filling out the G+ profile - it's really your "Google" profile.

      People have been putting bullshit information in. This triggers an automatic suspension of the account because what was entered violates the ToS.

      Since the G+ profile is really your "Google" profile; it also locks you out of other services.

      The most common one I've seen is people bitching after saying they put in a birth date that made them under the required minimum age to enter into an agreement with Google.

      • by HJED ( 1304957 )
        which can be due to a typo and which google give you no option to change once you've entered it. However many people are in fact complaining that google is blocking out all under 18 (not under 13) users with no explanation and that in some cases it seems to be guessing peoples age (they haven't given that information to google)
    • by doomy ( 7461 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @03:19AM (#36861060) Homepage Journal
      The problem is that El Goog has almost no existing customer support service. If your account is compromised and or disabled by Google itself, there is no place to seek help. The only place you could ask for help would be the Google support forum, which is actually run by users, no one hangs around there that can do administrative level work. The next issue is that G+ has automated real name identification system and account an suspension system based on several automated features, currently due there is almost no way to appeal an account suspension due to a non-existing customer support system. To test this system try changing your name (preferably on a throwaway account) multiple times, you'd find out that it would automatically suspend access to your account once that passes a certain threshold. The biggest issue is that once someone creates a G+ account, all their existing Google content comes under that account, thus a suspension of the G+ account means goodbye to gmail, YouTube, blogger, Calendar and so on.. all content is disabled and it's almost impossible to get it back (unless you are a celebrity or your story gets published in media).
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        I'm quite sure it would be trivial to get your stuff back even if you were a small-time businessman such as myself - stealing of trade secrets, tortious interference of business, etc.

      • by mr_lizard13 ( 882373 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @04:42AM (#36861358)
        With Google, the user is not the customer. Those placing ads are the customers, the user is the product.
        • by asdf7890 ( 1518587 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @06:18AM (#36861622)
          This is the same for any free-to-use ad-sponsored system. I don't have a problem with it, though I do wish more people were wise to it as they'd understand the dynamics of the online world better if they were and be less surprised by certain happenings when they occur.

          Google do sometimes show a lack of care for their product though. Yes they provide us with a collection of very useful tools and some fun toys too which is great when it all works, but they should try make a little more effort to provide speedy methods of resolution when mistakes are made.
    • No kidding (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @03:23AM (#36861080)

      Makes me reconsider if I wish to use it. If Google shut down my G+ account, or Facebook shut down my account or the like I'd lose no sleep over it. I really am not in to social networking and I think it is mostly a silly way for people to waste time at work (I've got better ways to waste time at work, like Slashdot :). However I would be rather angry if my G-mail account was shut down. I have a lot of important things directed to it and it would be rather inconvenient if shut down.

      I signed up because friends invited me. I'll have to think if I want to stay signed up as G+ is just something silly to keep my friends happy, G-mail is something I use a lot and I don't want one to risk the other.

      • by Znork ( 31774 )

        I have to agree. I quit using youtube in a signed in fashion when they insisted I connect with a gmail account, and I seriously dislike the integration of g+ into anything else.

        Personally I don't use my gmail for anything significant (I'll run my own server for anything I actually care about, thankyouverymuch), but if I did I'd certainly be very leery about using it in a linked way.

        • I quit using youtube in a signed in fashion when they insisted I connect with a gmail account

          No, you don't need a gmail account for YT, just a google account which can have an alias and any old email. I've never used my google account for anything except to sign into YT and I don't have a gmail account.

    • Incompetence and hamfistedness. Good reasons for anyone, or for any business, to move to the cloud, huh? No matter how reliable the servers are, you're still subject to someone's interpretation of a TOS, or a court ruling, or just some CEO's opinion of your content and/or data.

      I like having all my stuff on my own hard drives, thank you - without any indexing by Google or any other service provider.

    • an online service still in beta proves unreliable, asshats ascribe intent to the service's provider. in other news, sun still rising in east, setting in west. film at 11.
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Sunday July 24, 2011 @08:10AM (#36861946) Homepage Journal

      I think "hamfistedness" and "incompetence" hits the nail squarely on the head, and this is NOT a new problem, but I'm glad it's being finally aired. When gmail was fairly new I had the email address I only used it for mailing friends and family, and registering for the occasional subscription.

      One time when my internet access was down for a while (I'd just moved) I logged in to gmail from work and my password wouldn't work. After several screens of questions, the last one was "has your account been compromised?" I had to scratch my head over this one -- how would I know if the account had been compromised? I answered "no", the next screen informed me that my account was permanently suspended for violation of TOS but I could sign up again under another username.

      This had the effect of making me leery of using any Google service at all except search, maps, and news. It gave me ill will towards Google; I'd use Bing if it didn't suck so bad. I've been out of social networking since MySpace and probably wouldn't have signed up for G+ if it weren't for the fact that it's new and "kinda l33t". Also, I was pretty sure the daughter that works at a GameStop would love to be invited.

      I have a couple of suggestions for Google. First, that vague suspension notice is maddening. I could guess that someone in the IT dept at work worked a man in the middle attack on me, but Google should spell out exactly what ToS you've violated.

      Second, they should give you some recourse if they've suspended you mistakenly. Everyone makes mistakes, and a big outfit like Google is certain to screw up occasionally.

      Third and probably most importantly they should treat everyone equally. TFA says some high profile users were able to get their accounts restored, this is just plain wrong. "Don't be evil" my ass. Giving someone preferential treatment is in fact evil. If I can't get my addy restored, then a high profile blogger shouldn't, either.

      I have to give credit to slashdot. I'd let my mcgrew account go dormant for a few years; I was too busy with my own game site. I'd found K5 and was posting there until an admin named Jongular went to war with me and I came back to slashdot and re-signed as sm62704, having changed email addresses a few times and forgetting my PW; my own fault. Someone suggested that I write After a few emails I got my mcgrew account back. This greatly impressed me! Google should take a clue from /.. If my addy was restored, some of my trust in them would be as well. As it is, I don't trust Google any farther than I could throw one of their buildings.

    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.


  • by Nukedoom ( 1776114 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:36AM (#36860904)

    You know for all of Facebook's privacy infringement, there is one ace in the sleeve Google+ has over their users that Facebook does not: Gmail.

    • by mr_lizard13 ( 882373 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @04:48AM (#36861372)
      Which is turning out to be a big issue for those whose accounts are being deleted/suspended.

      Examples like this show why it's important not to concentrate services with one provider.
  • by liquidweaver ( 1988660 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:36AM (#36860906)
    ...and they don't make exceptions to celebrities? I think if Google allowed some people to have fake identities and some not, this same article would be front page Slashdot and the haters will still be hatin'
    • Nobody is saying they should make exceptions for celebrities. The problem is that they lock people out of all their Google services for one alleged infringement, potentially cutting off access to important personal data, with no real avenues of appeal. And also that by not allowing anonymous Google accounts they're screwing over people such as activists who need to be able to use services like this anonymously.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Come on, snap back to reality. How many tens of millions of people share the same bloody name. How stupid can google be, effectively banning anyone from using google who has the same name as someone else using google. The single greatest benefit of pseudonym usernames is getting past the fact many people share the same name.

        Google bans tens of thousands of john smiths, now add these two [] and []

        • Maybe they should change their names to Bobby Tables?

        • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex AT ... trograde DOT com> on Sunday July 24, 2011 @03:33AM (#36861120)

          This is not what Google is doing. They allow multiple people with the same name, it's just underage or fraudulent info gets you banned.

          I removed all of my "correct, yet questionable" data, eg: Location: Earth, Sol System, Milky Way Galaxy (A suburb of the Virgo Galactic Cluster) -- just in case. Actually, I removed ALL of the optional data about me, except for my name. Way to fail at your core competency Google (that is, getting me to allow them to aggregate my data).

          With all the fucking automated badassery that is google, why do they not simply send you a notice or email:

          ATTENTION! We are assholes, and thus this is your first and final warning before we lock you out of your account for-fucking-ever!

          Please be advised, there is some questionable material that we do not think is correct on your profile (but we really don't know, someone probably just reported you, so we sent you this letter).

          If you do not dispute this within 3 days access to your account will be denied, but we'll keep aggegating data about you when you search or use Youtube, etc.

          You can Fuck Right off Human Slime,
          Google's Faceless Automated Android Systems.

          IMHO, this would be much better than what they are currently doing...

          • Define how getting you to remove completely pointless data from your account is them "failing at their core competency"? If anything your example proves that their rules have just benefited them, and the accuracy of their aggregated data.

        • Forgive the additional reply, but WRT to "John Smith" being banned -- Well, that's a folk singer's name. Perhaps people are reporting other John Smiths thinking "Hey, this isn't the singer I searched for".

          In short, it could just be a bunch of dumbass Google+ users banning people by reporting them, and Google not having a good algo in place that says: 1) Notify before ban w/ dispute resolution option. 2) If many same-name's get reported, look into the cause, perhaps it's a common name and 3) Ban the rep

      • Any activist who uses Google for anonymity would do well to be banned from Google before his stupidity means he takes other activists down with him.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 24, 2011 @03:46AM (#36861164)

      Actually, Google is attempting to woo celebrities to their platform, such as Lady Gaga.

      The irony is that Lady Gaga isn't her actual name.

    • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @05:58AM (#36861560) Homepage Journal

      That would be fine except that some have apparently either broken a rule without knowing it and can't find out what it was, they have no way to get re-instated even where it is reasonably clear that the violation was unintentional and won't be repeated, and they lose other services they have been using without incident for some time as well.

      There is also room for interpretation as to what exactly is a pseudonym. In many cases of a famous nickname, using one's actual legal name would be an obfuscation of identity. Many have used a nickname for so long that it's the one they have internally connected to self and the legal name seems like someone else.

  • by ArcRiley ( 737114 ) <> on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:38AM (#36860908)

    Lets not forget that Facebook has been deactivating user accounts on the suspicion that they're using an alias for many years, they have a small dictionary of banned names to do this automatically. Have a unique first name like "Husky Smithson"? Too bad.

    Only difference is Facebook accounts are not also used for email and other essential services.

    • Only difference is Facebook accounts are not also used for email and other essential services.

      And this is the important thing. I couldn't care less if Facebook banned me (no seriously, I use it to chat to one friend in another city who I could just text message or ring), but getting banned from my entire Google account is a serious issue. I heard about people having their Google accounts banned for Google+ ToS violations right when it first come out which is why I haven't signed up.

      I have already experienced losing a 10+ year old email account on Yahoo (who inexplicitly reset a whole bunch of Austra

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Getting all your services from one company sure is convenient until you have problems with one part of their service but not the other.

    Like getting you Internet shut off because you are in dispute with the cell phone devision. We don't learn shit from history.

    • Unlike with a utility such as the phone/internet company, it is trivial to create separate Google accounts, one for Gmail, one for Google+, etc.
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "Unlike with a utility such as the phone/internet company, it is trivial to create separate Google accounts,"

        Not in California. Edison and Sempra LOVE to charge you for addresses you haven't lived in for MONTHS even after you change service to a new address.

  • Numbers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petteyg359 ( 1847514 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:42AM (#36860914) Homepage

    Kobnyc in TFA comments:
    "The article refers to deletions "en masse" and "striking number" and "dam had burst" etc but nowhere provides any hard or soft numbers to go with these clearly inflammatory adjectives."

    I, too, want some numbers.

  • by theweatherelectric ( 2007596 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:42AM (#36860916)

    The worst part for these individuals is that a lock-out of Google+ includes being locked out of all Google services, including email, calendar, and documents.

    Which is why it's always important avoid concentrating your services in just one provider.

    • by txoof ( 553270 )

      Which is why it's always important avoid concentrating your services in just one provider.

      Or, to ensure that you have a solid backup regime that pulls down your data and spreads the risk around. I pop all my gmail, compress it and store it both locally and with a cloud backup provider. Same goes for my contacts and calendar entries. This article motivated me to double check that everything was working as I expected, however.

      It would certainly be inconvenient if I was locked out of my email account, but downright tragic to lose my address book. It's one of those things that is hard to value u

      • Or, you go ahead and abide by the ToS.

        See my previous post - but the first time I saw this happen was someone lied about their age - and it was below the required age for G+.

        A G+ profile is a Google profile. If you put in false information that violates the ToS - the account will get shut off.

        It's really kinda f*cking simple. Kids lie and say they're 21 and they have a G+ account. Some moron says he's 12 and he's *shocked*, yes *SHOCKED* his account was automatically disabled because he was too young. True

    • It depends on what the odds of the services suddenly becoming unavailable are, and how important those services are to you. Does the convenience of using a single provider that works fine for millions of people with extremely high uptime outweigh an apparently tiny chance of having those services suddenly disabled? For most people, yup. To use a similar example, most people don't have their own generators, even though they rely on a single power company.

      You had said it's "always important," when it's really

  • by unity100 ( 970058 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:47AM (#36860934) Homepage Journal
    its a good way to lose business. google should congratulate the morons running these policies. they killed google+ before it started for me.

    and on another note, this situation basically drew my attention to the fact that relying on google is not a good thing.
    • by Fjandr ( 66656 )

      Yep, this guarantees any Google+ account I get in the future will be the only Google service on that account.

  • by xororand ( 860319 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:58AM (#36860976)

    Dealing with invididual eggs is just too cumbersome.
    So instead, I carry all in one large basket.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    • Dealing with invididual eggs is just too cumbersome. So instead, I carry all in one large basket. What could possibly go wrong?

      The mass of all the eggs in the world in one basket causes the eggs at the bottom to break, the ones above fall into place and crack too; The eggs quickly begin accelerating towards the bottom of the basket where the speed of their collisions allows the density to surpass the gravity well tipping point, and a new black-hole is born, it quickly gobbles up a chunk of the Earth before vanishing in a burst of Gama rays that extinguishes all life on the planet.

      You should here my explanation of why you shouldn't leave the water on while you brush your teeth...

      • by adolf ( 21054 )

        You should here my explanation of why you shouldn't leave the water on while you brush your teeth...

        Indeed. Let's have it.

  • by master_p ( 608214 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @02:58AM (#36860978)

    I wonder how g+ can know if a name is real or not. I mean, it is obious that "lady ada" is a pseudonym, but what if someone was called bya peculiar and also strange name? how would g+ handle that?

    I think google is too afraid that its social network will be used for nefarious purposes. I think Google worries too much: possibly evil people will register with a name as realisitc as possible, but it will not be their real name, while many legitimate users that go by their pseuodyms will suffer.

    G+ also does not let you login from the same ip address twice, from what I see so far. How can this work for families with many members but only one computef? or machines shared by different people in different shifts in a business setting?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It doesn't handle it. A friend of mine's name is Flash Jones.

      That's her name, her birth name, the name she prefers, and it's been her name for thirty seven years.

      She's lost her Google account, her Facebook account, and had requests to use a 'real' name by multiple employers and banks through her life - some of whom attempt to force the use of her more regular middle name in place of her first.

      Google however, is in the business of knowing about us, and the information you have on what we prefer to be known a

    • Even better a family with multiple computers behind a firewall and NAT. What happens then? I know of many families with that exact setup.

    • G+ also does not let you login from the same ip address twice, from what I see so far. How can this work for families with many members but only one computef? or machines shared by different people in different shifts in a business setting?

      We have more than one computer, but my wife and I both share the main PC. We're both logged into Google+, at the same time, on the same computer...but using different Windows profiles. No problems at all.

  • by JakFrost ( 139885 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @03:27AM (#36861102)

    I read the article and the biggest and most fearful thing that many people who were affected by this was that all of their Google services, including Gmail were affected and disabled.

    I only use Gmail for e-mail functionality because it is free and convenient and it is my primary e-mail address that has stayed universal through ISP changes and moves. I was quite well aware of Google's privacy policy and advertisement angle along with the fact that all of them will be available forever to Google, before I signed up to Gmail and have been weary every since. The offer of convenient, free, reliable, spam-free, managed by someone else, and universally accepted Gmail account had a lot of benefits since I didn't have to buy my own domain, maintain my own e-mail server, and deal with spam filtering

    I still haven't been burned by Gmail but I'm now wondering that since Google has become such a large entity it is surely going to suffer the fate of a behemoth afflicted by blind bureaucracy and the e-mails that they have forever will somehow get out to agencies, companies, or people who I don't want them to see.

    I'm going to seriously look into the technical and logical feasibility of install a mail server on my Linux box in my house which is going to require that I manage my own services and spam filtering along with dealing with the hoops of trying to run a mail server behind an ISP with my own domain name.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm going to seriously look into the technical and logical feasibility of install a mail server on my Linux box in my house which is going to require that I manage my own services and spam filtering along with dealing with the hoops of trying to run a mail server behind an ISP with my own domain name.

      It is very feasible to run own services.

      I came to this conclusion about 10 years ago, and now manage my own mail. (Actually I am responsible for all my own data) Without getting into "which MTA is better" war, as a complete newbie I accidentally stumbled upon qmail and tried installing it.

      I haven't lost a mail, and I have learnt quite a bit about how networks operate by maintaining my own services.
      It probably seems like overkill to run a system that could handle 1000's of accou

    • by worf_mo ( 193770 )

      I've been running my own mail server for a few domains since 1998. At that time I managed mail servers a living (working for a small local hosting provider), so running one more was no big deal. I do have a Gmail address and use it mainly on my Nexus S for syncing contacts and calendars. This just to say that I don't have a problem with Google.

      I do prefer to manage my mails on my own, though, mainly for reasons of control. Privacy is only one aspect, since whenever you write a mail, your recipient could be

  • mods before you mark this a troll, please consider my point carefully as it has validity.

    the people in question would not have ToS violations for their names if they had put their real names in the "real name" fields and their nickname/alias in the "nickname" field.

    Kirrily "Skud" Robert is not his real name. Kirrily Robert is his real name and Skud is his nickname.
    Limor Fried “Ladyada” is not a real name but Limor Fried is.

    While heavy-handed and without warning, these users did actually violate

    • ToS violation over minor things is so widespread and routine on the Net that it would be more surprising to find someone who had never done so. The heavy-handed reaction to it, however, seems to be quite unique to G+ so far.

  • Though I don't have G+ or Adsense etc, after reading this, Google Deletes Last 7 Years Of User's Digital Life (, I've started taking gmail, gdocs backups.

    Gmail : []
    Google Docs: []

    Though the ideal solution would be to have your own domain. I got mine, a .me from Namecheap for $7.49 just a few weeks ago and using it with free Windows Live (http:

  • by cardpuncher ( 713057 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @05:05AM (#36861416)

    Trading modest convenience for the a greatly increased risk of service disruption.

    Of course, while you're all worried about that, no-one is talking about the modest convenience of Google+ being able to hide your drunken weekend party photos from your boss being traded for the risk that the Big G gets to know everything about you and track your current whereabouts via your phone.

  • by cbope ( 130292 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @05:58AM (#36861564)

    I won't be getting a Google+ account. I don't care whether this is doing evil or sheer incompetence (I'm betting on the latter), but to lose access to all Google-related services especially Gmail, is complete and utter BS. The fact that a company the size of Google can get by without any sort of customer service is beyond me.

  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Sunday July 24, 2011 @07:36AM (#36861850) Homepage

    You get up tomorrow and log into GMail. You can't get in. Your account is locked. Your mail, calendar, documents — all gone. What do you do now?

    Remember that Google has no customer service, even for paying customers. If your account is locked for any reason, spurious or not, you're utterly fucked [].

    I keep a regular backup of my GMail. The official interface is IMAP, but GMail's IMAP implementation is really flaky (e.g. Thunderbird or won't suck everything down). The way to do this that actually works is with OfflineIMAP []. It's command-line and geeky, but by crikey it works.

    Using it on Ubuntu or Debian is absurdly simple:

    • sudo apt-get install offlineimap
    • Set up a ~/.offlineimaprc file cut'n'pasted from this one [], with your own username and password.
    • offlineimap

    This will create a folder with all your mail in it, in mbox format (readable plain text). You will have duplicate messages in different folders. I'm just doing this to get an archive, so zipped the result.

    GMail's IMAP interface is subtly broken, to the point where it can crash offlineimap. Just start it running again, repeat as often as necessary. (If you like, get a more current version [].)

    GMail is still the best email interface I've ever used, and I wish Thunderbird would just get the hint and clone it to the last detail. But this way I also have all my stuff myself, just because I can.

    I haven't tried this on a Mac or Windows. Could someone do this and write up instructions?

    For other Google services, you can get your data from Google Takeout []. While your account's not locked.

  • Meanwhile... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Joe Jay Bee ( 1151309 ) <[jbsouthsea] [at] []> on Sunday July 24, 2011 @08:05AM (#36861926)

    A friend of mine had some twat post a blog on Google's Blogger, using their name and photo, impersonating them, claiming that they are the "number one pedophile rights activist" and other such things in that vein. He has been hounded by social services and questioned about it by his son's school (a picture of his son also features on the blog). If you Google his name, that blog is the first result.

    This friend has now spent over a year trying to get Google to remove this blog. Despite being a clear victim of vindictive impersonation, and despite him REPEATEDLY faxing in copies of his driver's license and such as per Google's impersonation policy, it's still up there. And as previously noted, it has affected his wife and kid before, to the point of nearly getting his son taken away. And Google won't do anything.

    Funny how when they're trying to launch a whole new social network, they suddenly spring into action.

  • by shoehornjob ( 1632387 ) on Sunday July 24, 2011 @08:53AM (#36862074)
    Social networks = strangers spying on your life and selling that information to others. Eventually companies like Facebook and Twitter will just end up as the next big bubble. Facebook is a perfect example of this. Their revenue for 2010 was close to 2 billion dollars but Since Goldman Sachs gave them money they are now "supposedly" valued at 50 billion. WTF!! Are they using the social network as a cover for a large counterfiet ring? It's all hype and there's no reason a company like this should be valued this high. Goldman Sachs = hump and dump then looking for a bail out. Nothing new here. Move along.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson