Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
I Can No Longer Recommend Google Fi (onemileatatime.com)
732 points by hispanic 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 449 comments





The lede here is somewhat burried:

"From what I’ve since learned, if a card in your Google Pay is stolen, or someone uses your Payments account fraudulently, or anything happens that leads to a security flag being raised, it can lead to your Google Payments account being frozen.

...

If you can’t use Google Payments, you can’t pay for Google Fi

This, fundamentally, is why I can’t suggest anyone use Project Fi anymore.

...

Getting this fixed is actually impossible, and I say that as someone who really, truly, loves solving problems and has made a living off getting phone agents to want to help me.

We have submitted copies of his ID four times, my ID twice, multiple photos of credit cards, and various credit card statements. We’ve talked to agents and supervisors at Google Payments and Google Fi. No one is empowered to do anything, and even a well-intentioned agent doesn’t get the same answer from the “security department” twice.

I’ve since found hundreds of comments and Reddit threads from people having similar experiences, with almost zero positive conclusions.

The only suggestion of a solution we’ve been given is that he abandon both his email address and phone number of the past twenty years and start fresh."


This is a general issue with google. If their system decides it doesn't like you, then you're out of luck. You'll never get them to fix it.

This is also a problem with Square, and Stripe, and Paypal ... it's an unsolvable fraud/scammer problem.

Basically, if there was customer support that could fix the problem, then skilled scammers can get money and control out of them. They can do it a lot better than you can get your stuff re-enabled, they know just when to say what to whom.

Verizon just accepts the inefficiency, and also over-charges random customers, sometimes hands over control of a phone number to a scammer so they can get auth codes over SMS, has clueless support, etc. Google hasn't accepted this way of the world yet (but in scaling up the support has necessarily become disempowered).

It is very frustrating. It's a nature of things going mass-market. Just a few people, everything can be nice. Too many people, scams and fraud become big problems.


>it's an unsolvable fraud/scammer problem.

credit card companies and traditional banks and credit unions handle it fine.

>Too many people, scams and fraud become big problems.

if the solution to fraud is un-fixable account freezes, you have not actually solved anything. It is fraud itself.


They most certainly do not "handle it just fine". They are highly scammable, they know it, and it's "solved" my moving as much of the burden and repercussions onto the consumer as possible.

I've had my identity stolen, and both my wife and I have been mistaken for somebody else. There ARE way to move past this condition (inline with Google Pay, apparently), but it's just done via trust. Or apathy. Or acceptable risk. Or some combination thereof. It never truly goes away.


Huh. I've had credit card companies call me proactively when they thought something was wrong, before I caught any stray purchases. They refunded the money before I knew my card was stolen. So that was nice.

But then I've also heard pure horror stories about stolen identities, and I am genuinely sorry you faced any of that.

So what's going on here...

I think this is due to one aspect of their model that is ultimately an improvement, even though it still completely breaks at moments.

+ + Your card number is not your account. + +

Ie, if your CCN is compromised, it's disposable without starting your relationship with the company entirely from scratch.

Your "identity" though is not disposable. Your identity controls your relationship with the company and is not disposable. That causes major problems when hijacked, as it did for you. And that's not fixable (or at least not easy to fix at all).

So while we might not be able to solve the problem with identity, we can create firebreaks -- disposable parts of the infrastructure that attract some thefts because they allow quick wins. Ie, CCNs provide access to money. That funnels a lot of theft towards something that is easy to monitor and patch.

The identity theft remains an issue, but hopefully hits fewer people.

One thing that makes Google struggle is that they combine all of these interactions together. Nothing is revocable without resetting your entire relationship.

Given that they started as an email service, I have no idea if it's even fixable from where they are.


How is the Google way not even more so "moving as much of the burden and repercussions onto the consumer as possible"? They let fraudsters kill your accounts just so they don't have to take any liability or staff humans.

I've said this and will say it again, Google doesn't know how to deal with humans. They've failed in every endeavor where humans have to be in the loop.


I was going to say this but then I realized that what was meant by consumers was of course the people buying the services from the people whose accounts are cancelled. So the argument is that in the credit card world it is harder to cancel the accounts of scammers, and the people who buy from them must suffer more.

Not sure if I agree, and it does seem to me that Google's way is worse because at least there are some legal protections for people (consumers) who are scammed in the credit card way but in Google's way there is no protection of any sort for people whom the system dislikes.


Not to defend google but the problems they are having now to access their own google play are the same problem a scammer would have to go do it.

It does not look like a perfect balance, but they apparently err on the security side.


A bank solving your issue as “acceptable risk” and trust, and it results in me being able to access my card and bank account, to me it’s “just fine”.

If google takes the path of rather locking everything down then risking to lose a cent, it’s safe for them and bad for customers... not fine.

Sure risk is never just dissolving into light, nuce smelling smoke. Someone has to take and handle it.

I propose it’s the company who makes billions to handle it gracefully for customers ...


>>>it's an unsolvable fraud/scammer problem.

>> credit card companies and traditional banks and credit unions handle it fine.

> They most certainly do not "handle it just fine". They are highly scammable, they know it, and it's "solved" my moving as much of the burden and repercussions onto the consumer as possible.

That's false. I'm credit card companies are required by law (at least in the US) to shield customers from the repercussions of credit card fraud.

I've had my card number stolen twice, once by someone who used it in the same metro area as I live in, and it both cases it went about as smoothly as you could imagine.


> it's "solved" my moving as much of the burden and repercussions onto the consumer as possible.

I've had fraudulent charges on my credit card several times, and I've had checks stolen, and in no case I had any repercussions and financial burden shifted on me. I didn't pay a cent, and both credit companies and banks never tried to claim I am responsible for it - they rolled back the charges and reissued account numbers and that was it for me. Maybe I'm just exceptionally lucky, but my impression from other people that this is what happens in most cases like mine. Of course, whole full-blown identity theft is a different matter, probably harder to handle.


Nothing ever truly goes away until relativistic effects dominate.

It fixes one "fraud" path - where somebody seizes control of an account and holds it for ransom. Since the account itself is effectively destroyed by any flagging, it's then of no use as a hostage. An account that is flagged in any way is no longer of any use at all, no point to taking them over.

Of course, a scammer could threaten to destroy your accounts, and can do so very easily and credibly... So that's not exactly a huge improvement.


> This is also a problem with Square, and Stripe, and Paypal ... it's an unsolvable fraud/scammer problem.

It's compounded by the fact that Google has the primary element of your 21st century identity: your email address.


I recommend anyone who likes Gmail to use your own domain name@example.com and just forward all messages to your Gmail address. Only give out your own example.com email and set it as the reply to.

Even the cheap budget registrars offer email forwarding for free and I have never had any trouble.

This gives you the benefits of free Gmail without handing your entire life over to them. At least with a tld there is some due process and rules to protect you.


You’ll find that if you do this, you start getting emails directly to your gmail anyway. I never give out my gmail address, but I use gmail and they happily report my gmail address when they send email as my “real” account. (Both email addresses are included in emails I send.) And upstream they are happy to respond to that gmail account when people hit the reply button.

So I have tons of people who would essentially seem my contact as a black hole if I abandoned my gmail address at this point, because Google seems to have deliberately crafted their clients to prefer the gmail address rather than the “real” address. Essentially treating the gmail address as if it’s a reply-to.


It's because of Google's use of 'From' and 'Sender' headers in gmail. If you setup an SMTP server to send your emails from for your @example.com address then Google won't mess around and the emails appear to actually come from the email address you want out there, not your @gmail.com.

Or just pay Fastmail $30 a year for such an important 21st century utility such that e-mail is.

I don't use gmail for anything else except throwaway accounts. Who wants to run an SMTP server.


Crazy how many people don’t view email as a critical part of life infrastructure worth paying for.

You can actually set up gmail to send through an external server? I had no idea they’d support that. Running an SMTP server is absolutely not something I’m willing to do, though. Aside from the general setup/maintenance hassle, all the big companies are aggressive at blocking spam and private SMTP servers are just tough to keep unblocked these days (or so I read).

If you have GSuite you can, but I doubt it is possible for individual accounts. [1,2]

You can however send email to google's SMTP server, using an ordinary gmail account [3]. This is how email clients (Eudora, Apple Mail, sendmail) work. The only trick is that they force it to be authenticated and encrypted.

I believe (but have not verified recently) that if you send an email with an email address/domain other than of the authorising account, it will be delivered, even lacking all SPF etc. But, it will block for anything above small quantities of mail, and unless you set up DMARC for your domain, it will still get dropped or marked as spam. [4]

Running an SMTP server for yourself is actually fairly simple (okay, assuming a deep background in linux, but very educational). The real drama is DNS/DMARC/SPF/DKIM and users ruining your reputation.

[1] https://www.datto.com/resource-downloads/SettingUpExternalMa... [2] https://support.google.com/a/answer/178333?hl=en [3] https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-use-... [4] https://kinsta.com/knowledgebase/free-smtp-server/


It is, I do -- inbound email forwarded to gmail, outbound from gmail goes out through my server and while it's obvious it's from gmail, it doesn't actually include my gmail address anywhere.

Sending from Google's servers using my address would cause SPF and DMARC failures, so if you want to do that then they'd have to make sure it's clear that the mail is actually from gmail.


Last time I tried this they forcibly rewrite the sender as your gmail account.

This happens because you use Google's own SMTP. If you configure an external SMTP (e.g. Amazon SES) then the gmail webapp won't tell your gmail address to third parties.

I wouldn't advise doing this. Forwarding all your email from one provider to another doesn't really work in today's Internet.

The problem is that from gmail's point of view your registrar is now sending it a lot of spam. So it'll block the registrar or filter it more aggressively.

Also if you get email from a 3rd party who uses domain-keys, spf, etc (eg just about everyone) then those emails will be failing all the checks when gmail receives them.


You misunderstand jjeaff. He suggests making the MX of yourdomain.tld point to Gmail's MTAs. This is what he means by "forwarding email". This is the best-practice way to do it and works perfectly well.

This is inaccurate.

I have namecheap forward all of my email from *@my-domain-name.com to my.name@gmail.com. Works no problem, has for several years. Prepared for the eventual switch to FastMail when they support multi-label messages.

The only messages that end up in my spam folder are spam for knock off online pharmacies.


Hmm [goes off and does more research].

Okay, it appears this is so common that gmail has some guidelines that if people follow they are are usually okay:

https://support.google.com/mail/answer/175365?hl=en

It does look like namecheap filters spam aggressively so possibly that helps.

In general be careful for the reasons I mention. But it looks like if you follow the guidelines with gmail then you'll be good.

Sorry for the inaccurate information.


I've been doing this for years without any trouble.

Agree, and I've been doing this for about a decade with very little problem. (Google do add both a Sender and From, with the Sender being your GMail-address. But that has not been a problem.)

Are there actually rules and due process? I was under the impression that it's just a convention that the registrar won't seize your domain unless they really, really dislike you.

edit: I shouldn't be oblique in my comments. I'm of course referring to the whole Daily Stormer fiasco.


It becomes a legal and business decision for the registrar.

Most serve at the pleasure of a formal contract with their TLD control entity (e.g. ICANN).

Ultimately, if you were to sue them, there's a root document of legal responsibilities and behavior to point to.

In contrast to whatever emphemeral TOS bullshit Google feels like tossing out. And furthermore, unlike Google, they can't really just ignore you.

Or, to put it another way, VISA, American Airlines, Coke, etc also have an interest in maintaining legal ownership of domains. They could care less about Google accounts.


> Ultimately, if you were to sue them, there's a root document of legal responsibilities and behavior to point to.

But actually if you were to sue them, wouldn't the case be dismissed for lack of standing? If you're not a party to the dispute you can't sue (or rather, you can't sue and actually have your case proceed). You'd probably need to convince ICANN that they need to sue, which is already a much trickier position.


I'm increasingly convinced it's your cell phone number (i.e., all the IM services using SMS authentication). And when you're using Google Fi, they have that too.

It is too bad that I can't pay $50 and/or go somewhere in person to try and solve serious problems. This would eliminate most scammers and give people a way to get something done when it is really serious. I would guess this is not done because the PR hit for charging to talk to a person would be bigger than just ignoring certain people's problems (or companies don't want to have divisions that make more money when the rest of the company screws up, but I doubt that).

At the very least, they should figure out how to empower somebody in the support structure. This happened to me with that silly Cash app from Square (the Twitter handle is very cutesy in its interactions with people). It seemed kinda cool in how it let us come up with our own handle for people to send us money for our wedding, but left such a terrible taste in my mouth when everyone told me it wasn't working and Square shut down my account with no explanation. Why do millions of people depend on that? I want options like that to exist, but if I really need to depend on people being able to give me money, I'm just going to tell them to send it via my Chase account since for all its problems, Chase is a mature business. Maybe I'd use an Emoji app from Square just to share some giggles with people, but a money app from Square??? Nope, their brand lost my trust at the worst possible moment.

I've actually had decent luck getting Stripe to un-blacklist subscribers that they incorrectly identified as fraudsters.

But it takes a ton of back-and-forth with support reps who generally don't even know or believe you that blacklisting exists (sometimes just an email address, not a specific card, was blocked) – and in one case we didn't get a resolution until the customer got the CA Attorney General to write Stripe's general counsel.


PayPal has sales representatives and technical support people and you can actually deal with them, so I am not sure the premise is right...

...but the core problem is this argument is in reverse anyway: if I get banned from Bank of America somehow I don't lose access to the concept of a card that lets me pay for my Verizon account, and in the worst case scenario I can send them a check. I have had serious issues with Verizon paying for my account before (they both claimed I was behind on payments but would not accept money without a PIN number, which I could only get by verifying my address using a post card that would take forever), but it wasn't a catch-22 scenario where I lose my phone number as there is somehow literally no way to pay for their service again.


Are you sure about PayPal? Because I believe I have read quite a few pathetic stories -- similar in tone to the posted article about Google Fi -- about PayPal accounts being frozen with no recourse, for example[1]. And PayPal settled a class-action lawsuit on just this topic[2].

[1] http://www.paypalwarning.com/paypal-frozen-account/

[2] https://www.doctorofcredit.com/paypal-class-action-lawsuit-f...


I thought PayPal's issues were on the receiver side rather than the payer side? Making payments seems OK, it's just if you use PayPal to receive payments, they can arbitrarily freeze your funds for 6 months whenever they feel like it.

Not always.

I've recently moved to the US, and I wanted to get myself a Spitify account (hah). I had to wait for SSN for a few weeks, so no bank account yet - my only option was a prepaid Visa card. Bought one at QFC, used it with PayPal (a fresh account, as my old one is tied to another country) - and found it blocked the next day. PayPal had asked for an ID and address confirmation.

I had my passport, but no utility bill (I was still using Airbnb, just looking for a long-term place to live). Asked support if there's anything I can do - and got nothing useful besides "we need a driver license or utility bill", even though I specifically asked what else could I provide if I don't have either of those (I had a mailing address from a forwarding company). Account was unusable, all I could do with it was logging in :)

Then I've rented apartments and tried to send them a lease contract (with my full name and address) and it was rejected. Not an utility bill, right. Asked support about it, got no reply at all.

Waited for a month, got electricity bill, and only then my account was unlocked.

So, anything unusual - and even if you don't receive any money, you account could be blocked.


I believe these issues could be solved by actually taxing corporations and providing the service they clearly so desperately need.

An /actual/ (inter)national ID and Identity verification service. One where disputes about identity and authorization can be escalated somewhere that makes sense, to the jurisdictions issuing these IDs.

Ideally someone should be able to go to a police station (locally for local IDs, if on vacation/out of hometown in liaison between departments) and have their identity verified in a trusted way, and that verification reported as pass/fail to a third party whom is asking.

This would also be the way of officially disputing fraudulent uses of identity; they would be reported via the same actions, but as a customer initiation (and statement of legal testimony taken in a case that would then be opened and reported to the involved parties).

BTW, such a system SHOULD also include address resolution, for physical mail, voice, and electronic services (any sub-name actually).

I would LOVE to only update my address in ONE place when I move, instead of trying to remember everyone I've ever given it to.


Sweden has a personal identity number system, with an address/phone database that business can subscribe to. When you're shopping online, you can enter your ID number and it auto-populates your address. When you move, banks and others will automatically pull your new address from the database.

The banks then created a digital ID system (BankID) on top of this which is now used by everyone for real ID verification. Your physical ID is checked by a bank teller, and after that you get either a digital certificate file or a 2FA token that you can then use online to prove your identity for signing contracts (insurance etc), filing your taxes, or just logging into bank accounts etc.

Practically it works pretty well, even though I know philosophically an ID number like that would never fly in the US, and security-wise I'm sure experts have lots of objections.


This works similarly in Finland.

Form auto-population by ID is rare here, though.


How well served are the unenumerated?

Dane here, we have mostly the same system.

There are only really two groups that have issues: the very young (who are not used to checking up) and the very old (who are not used to computers).

Nobody is unenumerated, everybody has our version of a social security number, you are mostly required by law to have a bank account (and banks are required to give you one, except in specific individual cases such as you acting in an inappropriate manor)


I don't have a physical address (I move approximately every 3 weeks). I don't have a phone number (I move country every 3 weeks and need a new SIM each time).

I have so many problems with online authentication it's not funny.

So yeah, I'd love a global system of identification, but please let's not tie it to an address or phone number


Tying to a physical location actual serves an important function in that it introduces an asymmetry between you and a potential attacker / identity thief - it's much cheaper for you to physically show up at your local courthouse to contest something than it is for an attacker to fly in. Any suggestions for how to solve this?

By "solve" I mean come up with another similar asymmetry which doesn't depend on your physical location being constant.

I dunno, that kind of starts with the assumption that people live at one address, in one country. This is what I'm pointing out: that assumption is not true.

I accept that I'm an edge case, but a large minority of (for example) Australians have dual nationality, and will have lived in either of the countries that they're citizens of for long periods of time. Some haven't settled on one yet, and skip back and forth every few months/years. All of them (us) have stories of identity systems, bureaucracy and banks not understanding that they moved country.

You're asking for a replacement asymmetry when the thing you're replacing in the first place isn't actually useful.

But, to answer the question: email is the one thing I'm pretty sure that I and I alone can get to. I have two email addresses, from different providers, using 2FA (google Authenticator on my phone). The 2FA bit is probably enough asymmetry.

However, even that, I could lose: if I fall into a swimming pool while carrying my backpack and phone, I'd have a hard time proving who I am to anyone until I got everything back up and running. Even worse, if I fell into a swimming pool while moving accommodation I'd have my passports in my backpack... not a comforting thought at all.


Passport number along with cryptographic authentication similar to Estonia’s ID card. I believe this satisfies the need for authentication of all citizens at a global scope.

Not everyone has passports let alone valid ones.

And getting one for people can be difficult as many people especially older ones don't have supporting documentation e.g. birth certificates and so can't prove identity.


Several millions don't even have citizenship.

You can’t function as a citizen of a country without identity documents. Passport national ID cards, in my opinion, the optimal solution to the problem. Issuance can be streamlined, and cost can be absorbed for those who can’t afford it.

Society requires foundations.


> You can’t function as a citizen of a country without identity documents.

Sure you can. Identity documents exist more to prevent (the “wrong") people from functioning as citizens than to enable people to do so.


If you look young, how can you even buy alcohol or cigarettes (in my countries case even energy drinks) or get in a club? In my country each citizen must have an identity document - either a passport or ID card (drivers license doesn't count). I can't see it any other way as you need to ID yourself in stores (in the mentioned case if you look young and want to buy alcohol/cigarettes/energy drink), post office when receiving package, getting drivers licence, opening bank account, getting loans etc.

The checking for a picture id is mostly an issue in the US, because they are insanely horrified by thought that people drink in the US in the exact way they do in most of the western hemisphere.

Anyway never had an issue with getting a package with my drivers license, and I didn't recall having issues before I got that. My passport is expired, because travel is inconvinient and mostly made obsolete with the internet.


> If you look young, how can you even buy alcohol or cigarettes (in my countries case even energy drinks) or get in a club?

It is possible to go your entire life without ever doing any of those things, or having any desire to. And as a general rule, it's the people who are of legal age who least care to do them. Also, some countries don't have age restrictions on such things to begin with (or don't enforce them at all).

> post office when receiving package

Who goes to the post office to receive a package? They come to you, and are then satisfied by the fact that they delivered the package to the address on the label.

> getting drivers licence

This a major reason why this is pointless. If you're going to have an ID, how do you identify yourself to get the ID? It's fully circular. You can't prove who you are unless you can already prove who you are, in which case you already have an ID.

In the US a large percentage of the population don't have passports. When you get a driver's license, they nominally ask you for some other ID, most of which (e.g. birth certificates or company/school IDs they have no way to authenticate) are trivially forged and useless at proving the person is who they say. Because it has to be that way -- you can't make having an ID a condition of getting an ID.

The whole idea is silly. Identity is context. If you create an email address with Google, you set a password. Then Google knows you're the person that email address belongs to because you're the one with the password. Your government "identity" has nothing to do with it, nor should it.

> opening bank account

The only reason banks care about this is that the government requires them to. Otherwise they would be completely satisfied to give you a numbered account with no person's name attached and simply put a hold on your deposits until after they've cleared, as they do for most anyone regardless.

> getting loans etc.

To get a loan what they care about is whether you're creditworthy, not what your name is. Prove that you have a job and a history of paying back debts, or post some collateral, that's what they want.

One system by which they automate this is to have credit reporting agencies that aggregate this information and associate it with your name, but there is no inherent reason it has to be done that way -- and some good reasons not to. See Equifax data breach.


> It is possible to go your entire life without ever doing any of those things, or having any desire to. And as a general rule, it's the people who are of legal age who least care to do them. Also, some countries don't have age restrictions on such things to begin with (or don't enforce them at all).

Yes it is possible but you are describing outliers. Which first world country doesn't have age restrictions on alcohol or tobacco?

> Who goes to the post office to receive a package? They come to you, and are then satisfied by the fact that they delivered the package to the address on the label.

Envelopes and small packages (which fit) are left in mail box. In order to get everything else you have to go to your post office. Courier services deliver package to you personally and they don't leave it at your doorstep so anyone can steal it.

> This a major reason why this is pointless. If you're going to have an ID, how do you identify yourself to get the ID? It's fully circular. You can't prove who you are unless you can already prove who you are, in which case you already have an ID.

I don't really know how it is done today but in theory you could prove it by taking DNA/fingerprints at birth and registering accordingly.

> The only reason banks care about this is that the government requires them to. Otherwise they would be completely satisfied to give you a numbered account with no person's name attached and simply put a hold on your deposits until after they've cleared, as they do for most anyone regardless.

We are talking about reality not a situation where government regulations doesn't exist so there is no way of having a bank account if you don't have some sort of ID.

> To get a loan what they care about is whether you're creditworthy, not what your name is. Prove that you have a job and a history of paying back debts, or post some collateral, that's what they want.

This is just plain wrong, they care about the identity in case you stop paying so they can go after you.

P.S. You also need ID to own property, companies etc. I can't deny that if you are living in the middle of woods off grid you might get by without an ID but if you are an average person you will need an ID eventually.


> Yes it is possible but you are describing outliers. Which first world country doesn't have age restrictions on alcohol or tobacco?

In many parts of the US the restrictions are not actually enforced, or you can prove your age using non-government-issued identification.

I also dispute your assertion that people who don't drink or smoke are outliers. The majority of people don't smoke and a large minority don't drink. In some major cultures and religions drinking is outright prohibited.

> Envelopes and small packages (which fit) are left in mail box. In order to get everything else you have to go to your post office. Courier services deliver package to you personally and they don't leave it at your doorstep so anyone can steal it.

In the US they leave it at your doorstep so anyone can steal it, because in practice hardly anybody actually steals it. Who is going to risk federal prison or getting shot by the homeowner over a mystery box which is probably just a $25 bulk pack of shampoo?

> I don't really know how it is done today but in theory you could prove it by taking DNA/fingerprints at birth and registering accordingly.

This doesn't work for anyone who is already an adult, and isn't already being done for newborns so won't work for them either, which means you've got more than a hundred years before something like that could be used without having living people it doesn't work for. It also fails permanently for anyone born and raised in another country.

On top of that, it still isn't solving the unsolved problem, which is identity theft. You can't use DNA or fingerprints over the internet (they're trivially forged if you control the reader), so they're just going to issue you a card or a PIN or some other thing you can use and then someone can steal/hack/forge it and impersonate you. Being able to prove your DNA doesn't disprove that you're the person who used your card+PIN to buy $50,000 in already-provided goods and services, or pay for an email account used to send spam etc.

> We are talking about reality not a situation where government regulations doesn't exist so there is no way of having a bank account if you don't have some sort of ID.

We don't have mandatory national ID cards either. If the proposal is to make a policy change to improve things, let it be the one that doesn't double down on a bad idea.

Also, around a quarter of Americans and half of people in India don't actually have a bank account, largely because they don't have any money to put in it and can't afford the fees that come with not having a minimum balance. So they get paid in cash, or something they immediately convert to cash, and pay for everything with that.

> This is just plain wrong, they care about the identity in case you stop paying so they can go after you.

That is why they require collateral. If you take out a mortgage they put a lien on the house. If you don't pay, they take the house. If you're on a beach in Argentina with a million dollars in cash in a briefcase, what does the bank care as long as the house sells for more than they're owed?

> P.S. You also need ID to own property, companies etc.

There are millions of people who don't own real property or companies, or even cars.

And even then, it doesn't require a national ID -- they all exist without it. They even predate modern identification. Because all of those things are local. If you want to transfer property, you go to a notary. The notary will want to know who you are, but that doesn't mean national ID. They could just take a picture of you and keep it for their records, or accept a non-government ID or an oath from a person known in the community that you are who you say you are.

Centralized identification is at the same time unnecessary and actively harmful.


> In the US they leave it at your doorstep so anyone can steal it, because in practice hardly anybody actually steals it. Who is going to risk federal prison or getting shot by the homeowner over a mystery box which is probably just a $25 bulk pack of shampoo?

Nearly 1/3 of of people in USA have experienced package theft and it is only a federal crime if you steal USPS packages not Fedex/DHL/UPS etc.

> That is why they require collateral. If you take out a mortgage they put a lien on the house. If you don't pay, they take the house. If you're on a beach in Argentina with a million dollars in cash in a briefcase, what does the bank care as long as the house sells for more than they're owed?

I can get a personal loan without any kind of collateral as long as i have X income. Credit cards doesn't have collateral as well.

Honestly, i feel that we live in different worlds - i cannot fathom not having an official ID as there are occasions where i must have it (voting, travel, banking as well as government e-services where you can use bank login or your ID card certificate to identify yourself). There isn't a lot of press or reports from Personal Data Watchdog about somebody doing monetary damage from using other people data, in fact our ID numbers (like SSN) in some cases are public knowledge. I am not saying that our system can't be abused but right now i feel like it works just fine and i wouldn't want it any other way.


> Nearly 1/3 of of people in USA have experienced package theft and it is only a federal crime if you steal USPS packages not Fedex/DHL/UPS etc.

That statistic is from a survey done by Comcast as a precursor to trying to sell you a home security system. That is not a reliable source.

And stealing a non-USPS package is still a state crime, so the main difference is whose jail you sit in. Unless you manage to steal something which is actually worth a lot of money, or is involved in interstate commerce etc., in which case welcome back to federal prison.

> I can get a personal loan without any kind of collateral as long as i have X income. Credit cards doesn't have collateral as well.

These are small loans, in which case the collateral is your job. They verify where you work, so if you don't pay they know where to find you. The only way to avoid them finding you is to quit your job, which they don't expect to be worth it for you to do over such a modest amount of money. Notice that the interest rates on those kinds of loans are dramatically higher -- because of the risk that they're wrong. If it was really your identity doing most of the work you would expect the interest rates to be much closer to those for loans with more substantial collateral.

> There isn't a lot of press or reports from Personal Data Watchdog about somebody doing monetary damage from using other people data

According to DOJ statistics, more than 17 million people in the US are victims of identity theft per year.

> Honestly, i feel that we live in different worlds - i cannot fathom not having an official ID as there are occasions where i must have it (voting, travel, banking as well as government e-services where you can use bank login or your ID card certificate to identify yourself).

You feel that way because you live in a place where having an official ID is required to do everything. That isn't a law of nature, it's just a law of the place you live. It's completely reasonable to do things a different way.


Except: when you renew a passport, don't you get a new passport number?

why is that a problem? a well oiled practice for revocation in case of compromise sounds like a good thing to me.

Get a phone that supports dual sims (almost every Chinese phone), or a cheap second phone, and keep one for auth uses.

But then you (usually) lose sdcard support because manufacturer too cheap to give you a dedicated sdcard slot.

I don't recall that having been an issue with the phones I've had, but I guess it must be an issue, as doing a search for "dual sim" on Aliexpress now brings up a ton of adapters to let you use both dual sim and a sdcard at the same time... (though I can't say I'd like to have one hanging out of the side of my phone...

The problem with centralized identification is that it doesn't actually solve anything, it only outsources it to a less security-competent entity which would be an even bigger target for fraud and corruption.

Creating one single place to change your address gives the attacker one single place to change your address. Compromise one system, bribe one police officer or DMV employee, get nation-wide root access to everything.

And how does it even solve the problem? The problem isn't that Google doesn't know whether you're John Smith. It's that Google thinks John Smith is a scammer they won't do business with, and they aren't willing to spend their resources helping you to clear your name.


Well, fraud would still happen. The problem from the fraudsters point of view are manifold though: They have to actually deal with the police in person. Sending copies of identity documents by mail is not as involved as personally going to a police station. The risks are very different.

Similarily, you can have corruption at phone carriers and credit-card companies too. What matters is the audit-chain. If a police officer keeps id-ing fraudsters they won't be in the job for long.

That public servants are more corrupt and less competent than the corporate employees one depends on is not a universal experience. Not for me anyway.


> Well, fraud would still happen. The problem from the fraudsters point of view are manifold though: They have to actually deal with the police in person. Sending copies of identity documents by mail is not as involved as personally going to a police station. The risks are very different.

Not really, because that isn't how fraud happens now, and nothing about that would change it.

People don't commonly commit fraud by going to a government office to get an ID issued in your name, they do it by waiting for you to do that and then stealing it from you or otherwise convincing you to give them the information they need to authenticate using it.

> Similarily, you can have corruption at phone carriers and credit-card companies too. What matters is the audit-chain. If a police officer keeps id-ing fraudsters they won't be in the job for long.

That's assuming the audit chain is both secure and less susceptible to corruption than the original system. Audit logs don't help if they're compromised by the people with privileged access. Or you nominally have individual accounts but in practice they're shared or not secured against compromise by privileged users.

And assuming that the corruption problem is specific identifiable people rather than a systemic issue where >=5% of police are corruptible so one getting caught only requires the fraudsters to use any of the thousands of others.

> That public servants are more corrupt and less competent than the corporate employees one depends on is not a universal experience. Not for me anyway.

The difference in this case isn't that the quality of the people is different, it's that the nature of the system is different. Whereas an individual company might have five employees with sensitive access, across an entire national government there would be a hundred thousand or more, so the attacker has a hundred thousand chances to find the lowest common denominator instead of five. And then when they succeed the scope of the vulnerability is not limited to that one company, it's universal.


We already have this system in the US. It's called a notary public. It works pretty well. Google just chooses to not use it.

Many US states have this place where you get you ID. It's often called the department of motor vehicles and is notorious for being a huge pain to deal with. Most places where the government works well in this capacity probably doesn't have companies pulling this kind of shit. Any Germans in the audience?

It's more specifically a problem with Google as they actually have $106 billion in the bank and choose to write a few algorithms and pretend they've met their obligations to their customers, despite 20+ years of evidence it is insufficient. Some segments of their users like Adsense they have actually been stealing from for all this time via automated accounts bans and balance forfeiture safeguarded by their patently fake support.

To provide a citation for their two decades of Adsense fraud, last year they settled a case they fought for four years after someone sued them for banning their account and stealing their revenue, alleging that they deliberately froze publisher accounts at the end of the month to maximize the amount of revenue to be stolen.

After a ban the allegedly fraudulent portion of the revenue is refunded to the advertisers, non-fraudulent revenue within the same time frame is ... they settled for $11m on the grounds that it would be too expensive to show how they didn't design a system intended to steal from their publishers.

https://www.searchenginejournal.com/adsense-lawsuit/248135/


This is especially a problem for Google. They have somewhat earned a reputation of not providing customer support. One of the reasons why I stayed far away from Google Fi even though it looks very cool.

I know it's against the narrative, but I find PayPal's support people (the ones you phone up, at least) to be both empowered and helpful. They have gone out of their way, on more than one occasion, to help me out and get my account back to normal.

PayPal and eBay might as well be direct and just tell the seller/receiver to outright fuck off. It's a scammers paradise between the two. They are both awful corporations that blatantly support obvious fraud. They don't give a shit. They should be criminally investigated.

They need to require better identity-proofing methods. To open a bank account at many banks you need to physically show up at one of the bank locations and present physical original copies of identification documents.

Allowing people to submit documents online is not good enough. After the identity has been proven, then from that point on you can offer online services, but the initial account creation needs to be done offline.


> Basically, if there was customer support that could fix the problem, then skilled scammers can get money and control out of them.

Possibly. Then the question is - what is more important for the company, tolerating some amount of losses but keeping honest customers happy, or minimizing the losses at the cost of innocent people being screwed hard. As an innocent person, I'd prefer the system that leans towards my benefit. Even if it'd cost Google whopping 0.0001% of their revenues.


I mean, crypto is a payment system that won't kick you off for fraud.

The DAO hack remediation has determined that was a lie.

That was a reversal of fraud, nobody was banned from the Ethereum network (because nobody can be banned from the network).

Effectively reversing the transaction isn't the same as not letting you buy anything ever again.

Even if it's deserved ;)

Let's make human rights inalienable.

Have to chime in here: not a problem with Paypal. I've actually gone through this process, spoke with a real human being, and got things resolved in about 15 min...

I completely disagree. I've had the same problem with PayPal and Venmo. At some point, if anything goes wrong, they just say their security system has flagged you and there is nothing they can do. They can't even tell you the issue. You just have to wait and hope it eventually clears you, hope it doesn't flag you the next time you do it (which it probably will somewhere in the algorithm, since you've been flagged before) or close/cancel your account.

I guess this is one of those times where it helps to be a lawyer...

As a money transmitter they have extra obligations and a quick call to the regulator can resolve issues relatively quickly (if you're a US citizen and live in the US).


I recently had nearly the same exact problem with Microsoft. Security department is a black box—zero communication. A friend working for Microsoft even escalated my case internally at the time, but nobody could do or see anything. My account was eventually unfrozen without so much as an email to notify me, never mind an explanation.

The point is, this issue isn’t limited to Google.


The difference is Microsoft doesn't provide you with your phone service do they?

I think this highlights the dangers of bundling all of your services through a single point of failure. Something Google probably is the most known for.


Wouldn't surprise me if Microsoft saw how much money Google saves by not having support, and decided to follow their lead.

They used to have decent support.


It’s always been questionable.

Nowadays even Premier is garbage. The guidance from a TAM is to log calls before 10AM local time, so that the support don’t queue you to a desk that will pretend to contact you after you’re gone home.

The funniest thing is that if you answer after hours, you get someone not prepared to do anything, as he’s there to attempt contact to push the call out so they hit the SLA.


As an Xbox developer, Microsoft support is actually pretty good. They reply to questions pretty quickly and when needed you can even speak directly to the engineers responsible for the parts of the system. But then again, I imagine Xbox development team and their number of customers(developers) is tiny compared to the rest of Microsoft, so they can allow this kind of tight support.

>They used to have decent support.

In 2001 it was apparently on par with the "Psychic Friends Hotline" - https://slashdot.org/story/01/04/27/1715203/microsoft-tech-s...



With Microsoft, it makes good sense for them to not have any support. They can save a lot of money that way, and there's simply no downside. Does it anger customers? Sure, but who cares? It's not like the customers are going to abandon Microsoft.

With Google, there is at least a chance they could move to the Apple ecosystem.


Why wouldn't I abandon MSFT? There is google docs, chromebooks and mac os already. Only a small power user use case needs to stick with office specifically nowadays.

Last I checked, Windows is still the OS of choice for consumers, businesses, the space station (check the recent HN post and zoom in on one of the ThinkPads), etc. So MSFT still has a good chokehold on modern computing.

> So MSFT still has a good chokehold on modern computing.

Many of us breathe quite freely (at work we're free to us any OS as long we don't bother IT.) It has like this for a little more than half of of my 10 last years (notable exceptions: 3.5 years as sysadmin on old system running Windows, 4 months consulting and 3 months with a boss who demanded everything ran Linux.)

Oh: and almost everyone demands we host on Linux or on cloud.


As I said above, everyone who would abandon MS, already has (this apparently includes you). Everyone who hasn't yet, never will. So at this point, MS has nothing to lose by treating their customers like crap. The people who still use MS desktops certainly aren't going to switch to Linux, and the people who use MS servers and other business products are locked in and probably not interested in changing anyway because all their IT expertise is invested in that ecosystem. The people who demand you run everything on Linux aren't MS customers at this point, so MS doesn't care about pissing them off.

Lots of people already abandoned them years ago. It might be the sort of thing that isn't a problem... up until the moment the firm goes out of business.

Oh, I hear people complain all the time about them and how they're going to switch to Linux (usually because of Win10's spying), but I actually have yet to see anyone make the jump. It's all just hot air.

Anyone who actually would abandon MSFT already did so, many years ago. People who haven't abandoned them by now, will never do so.


i don't know but last august i had an issue with my surface and i talked with chat support as well as phone support without any issues.

There are so many companies that could make customer service an absolute breeze compared to the nightmare they have created by just offering customer service chat with reps that are actually empowered to do something.

Of the few companies I know that have chat support, a very select few can do anything more than apologize and give you a phone number to call or place to open a ticket.


My experience with Microsoft is very positive one. I had issue once with Windows on my old gaming machine. I called them, regular support couldn't help me, but they scheduled call with their dev center or something. I got to talk with very knowledgable lady, who not only directed me what to do to resolve problem, but also explained well what was the issue and all made perfect sense.

I was genuinely impressed. I think this was because my issue was not trivial and I got to talk with developers.


I had a problem with an old USD10 purhase through their Windows store. They called me back and sorted the problem the same afternoon. Was genuinely impressed, haven't seen anything like that since IBM PC support in the 90ties.

It turns out it didn't take computer AI "taking over" to just arbitrarily decide you're out, or wrong, or whatever with no recourse.

A company of humans have decided that's ok.


No single human says this is ok. There is no human consensus this is ok. This is a form of non-human intelligence taking over.

No, it's humans at Google deciding that the financial trade off is worth it. The CEO has the power to change it, but think it's an okay state of affairs.

I think Google is aware of this issue and the powers that be clearly are ok with it.

it's not an "intelligence" so much as emergent properties of systems. there are fields like system dynamics and macroeconomics that study such things.

Yes — but all "intelligence" is an emergent property of systems. And because the system in this instance is not a human brain, it's non-human intelligence.

It’s not really intelligence, so much as selection pressure in the direction of high margin. Evolution isn’t “intelligence” either, but still leads to interesting or highly honed solutions to problems.

It's certainly not selection pressure. Google's systems did not evolve because similar companies out-competed and reproduced more effeciently than dissimilar companies. The metaphor doesn't work at all.

Yeah, I actually pretty much agree, I was more responding to the point that nobody made a decision for it to be this way, and that is intelligence. I actually think that it was something that was intentially planned for purely margin reasons.

No. This is simply lack of communication, both between computers and humans. All it takes is a couple DBs becoming unjoined in a query or someone not telling the full story for information to be lost.

Corporations are the first generation of general AI.

"Corporations as slow AI" is subject that SF author and occasional HN poster Charlie Stross (@cstross) touched on in a presentation at CCC in 2017[1]

1. http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2018/01/dude-you...


Or the first generation of responsibility laundering.

> You'll never get them to fix it.

I honestly don't think they know how. What I mean is, this just hasn't ever been a concern for them because their services were free so they don't have a history of customer service.


Yep. a few years ago I signed up for a promo where if I spent a certain amount in the app store, I'd get a free chromecast. Never got it. No recourse available. At all. It's really strange that this level of "service" is acceptable.

If your based in the US I'd encourage you to file a complaint with the FTC, this is considered "unfair or deceptive business practices."

https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/media-resources/identity-the...


>No recourse available.

You can sue Google in small claims court for the value of the undelivered Chromecast and for the court fees you spent on suing them.


I would be too scared of Google closing my account as retaliation for this and me losing literally my entire digital life (family photos, my identity that's tied to gmail, etc).

Ever notice how Google Photos always bugs you to clean up your phone of your personal photos and move everything to the Google cloud?

someone should take that do not pay bot that fights traffic tickets and apply it to suing Google et al over these issues. https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/12/15960080/chatbot-ai-legal...

I could, and I probably should, but my time is worth something. For $25 I'd be doing it to make a point, but I'm not sure that point would actually be made.

but it's generally not worth your time or money to do so

But it'd be interesting to see a LOT more small-claims court suits... a million paper cuts to bring some humility and service to the beast.

This won't happen, because Congress has done its best to try to limit action against corporations by trying to define everything under the sun as 'frivolous lawsuits that are clogging up our courts'.

True. The demand letter you write prior to filing a lawsuit will usually be enough, though. At some point someone runs the calculation between giving you what you want and fighting a lawsuit in small claims, and decides to give you things instead.

A Chromecast retails for ~$25. Even if the presiding judge decided to award 100x in 'punitive' damages, that's still $2500, which is far less than what it would cost Google to bother addressing the claim in court.

"You'll never get them to fix it."

And, quite honestly, why would they at this point? They have millions of other customers they can ignore, that are still paying. Where are they going to complain? And how would other users in the same boat find such complaints?

It's certainly not right, but there's no strong incentive for Google to change how they're doing business right now.


You can get them to fix it in 1 simple step:

1. Stir up enough shit on social media that some higher up at Google basically does ''sudo fix-problem <customer>''.

Of course, then google apologizes and promises to fix things for everyone else but they don't.


>If their system decides it doesn't like you, then you're out of luck. You'll never get them to fix it.

Exactly right. The only way to get them to even look at it is to have a friend who works at Google or have tons of Twitter followers and pressure them by tweeting the story.


I had a similar problem with Apple.

I made an in app purchase (with a YC company nonetheless) and the company gave a limited period to cancel the service for a full refund. I cancelled the service within the deadline, and didn’t get a refund. I requested the refund from the YC company who said “they can’t” refund and I have to ask Apple. So I asked Apple for the refund included the YC company policy/purchase date/cancellation email and Apple told me I had to be refunded by the YC company.

With no recourse I did a chargeback and Apple blacklisted my debit card which basically bricked my ability to use my phone.

All these tech companies have their heads so far up their asses when it comes to cost cutting/customer service, it’s no wonder services like Twitter/FB serve as public shaming, complaint tools to access the otherwise inaccessible tech elite.


> bricked my ability to use my phone

I'm curious, how exactly? As far as I know, you can always use the phone without a linked payment method. You won't be able to download apps or use iCloud, but unlike the original example, your cellular service will still function. Apps will still run.


I think you more accurately framed it than I did. I threw “basically” in there because it wasn’t 100% nonfunctional, but for my purposes it was significant loss of functionality.

I wonder if you get a new debit card if you can fix this.

(though the last time I lost my card, Apple figured out how to bill my new one without me telling them. Wonder if that goes both ways?)


It looks like in this case its the YC company in the wrong. How could they have claimed you could get a refund, and never provided you that? Even if they did not know Apple does not do it, its their claim and so is their responsibility. You could easily sue in a small claims court.

I think the point isn't who is really to blame here, but it's that no matter what cell service or tech you use, there are situations where they will stop service because of payment disputes even if you're in the right.

It's my understanding that refunds in the app stores (and Steam, etc) are entirely a feature of the store itself, and the product/app creator hasn't got a say in it or any control over it.

Which is logical as the store handles payments. The creators don’t have your financial information, how could they process a refund?

My app on the apple App Store is mostly trouble free but occasionally maybe once a year I have to issue a refund. I can’t do it via Apple I just use PayPal. They could be scammers or bullshitters but I doubt it. Besides is the cost of the app worth more than my reputation?

Sony does the same thing. It's a fraudulent activity on their part.

What happens: Your card gets used, or you bought something there that didn't work. Sony refuses to refund, if you escalate to a chargeback they'll ban your account and prevent you from accessing anything you bought on their network (even if it's not involved in the dispute).


This is why you use virtual cards, such as provided by privacy.com. If it gets blacklisted or compromised or otherwise becomes more hassle than it's worth, just throw it away and create another one.

It's not the card that is blacklisted, it's your account. And depending on the platform, that might be your whole identity.

> Apple blacklisted my debit card which basically bricked my ability to use my phone

You are hyperbolizing. You can just use a different card. It's not like they killed your AppleID which wouldn't kill your phone regardless.


Do a charge back and experience it yourself...you can’t just “use a different card”

Ever occur to you that someone using a debit card may not be able to "just use a different card"?

Perhaps this is an America-centric point of view, but almost everyone has multiple cards.

You can also use a prepaid credit or cash gift card to create an account or pay for Apple content.

Perhaps this US centrism colors Apple's view as well?


You don’t need a card to keep using the apps you’ve purchased.

You don’t need a card to maintain or get an Apple ID (unlike implied bythe default user flow, it’s possible to get w/o one).

You don’t need a card on an Apple ID to download free apps.

You even don’t need a card on an old account to use apps from that old account on the same device as apps from a new account, you just need to be able to provide valid credentials for both (seems like triggers when the device is trying to update the apps in question).


Almost everyone of a certain level of means has multiple cards. If you only associate with people around your economic level, it is easy to believe that everyone has multiple cards. I have many friends in NYC with only a single debit card and either no credit cards (due to no or poor credit) or a few credit cards that are all maxed out.

It's also worth noting that many companies with subscription services specifically block signing up with gift cards. I do not know if this would apply to Google Pay or not.


You don’t need a card of any sort to pay for stuff in Apple’s ecosystem.

iTunes gift cards are readily available at common retail outlets, which take cash, and can be used for apps, iCloud, and the rest of it.

Sucks that GP got his debit card blacklisted, that would annoy me as well, but “bricked”? c’mon.


A somewhat similar situation happened to me in that my Google payments account was frozen, supposely due to fraud. This caused me to be unable to buy a new project fi compatible phone or do any other payments, except... My monthly Fi bills continued to be processed as usual. I tried escalating with Fi support and filing a BBB complaint (which at least got looked at, but did not resolve my account standing). Finally, I contacted a Googler that commented here on HN and luckily they were sympathetic and fixed the issue. If I hadn't have been able to get my account in good standing and I was forced to start over with a new Google account, I would have switched to an iPhone. Sometimes I wonder if I should have switched anyway.

Not an improvement.

Pre-Google-Fi and into Google Fi, I considered the various "un-appeal-able" account scenarios with Google products, including how they sometimes tied back to loss of access to other Google products including one's Gmail account and basically any access to the baseline Google account at all.

When I signed up for my first Android phone, I created a new Gmail address for it.

When I decided to give Fi a ago -- and get a discount on a Nexus 5x -- I looked at how Fi commandeered any already-connected Google Voice number -- in a one-way process, by the way -- and used a Gmail account that did not have Google Voice set up. And kept my other number active on another carrier, by the way -- I wasn't porting it.

Fi can be pretty good, when it works. Google account management, on the other hand, remains a minefield of irreversible pitfalls.

I might suggest to Google, that they try re-introducing some orthogonality into their accounting structures. But, I'm tired of suggesting things to Google; they've had more than enough time to get -- or buy -- a clue.


One thing I can suggest; if you're deep into google products, you should be paying the $5/month for a G-Suite account with your own domain. You get access to better business-class support. Fi is now also supported on G-Suite accounts.

It's a no-brainer. It sucks that their personal account support is so bad, but there is a solution.


> if you're deep into google products, you should be paying the $5/month for a G-Suite account with your own domain. You get access to better business-class support.

And lose access to the consumer offerings for which Google isn't prepared to offer enterprise management features and/or support, or which just don't fit into their enterprise vision. Every time a new consumer service or feature product is released, complaints start from G-Suite customers about not having it.

Which isn't a big deal, perhaps, if it's not a service with interacts with others on your account, so you can just use it on a different account, but for things that you want to integrate together splitting different services to different accounts because not all of them are supported on G-Suite makes the services on both accounts worse than they would otherwise be.

Google One is the offering directed at this, though I don't know how good the support component is.


This isn't much of a solution. I had a G-Suite account with them when I had an issue with Payments. I ended up with a suspended payments account all the same and no support via the G Suite support package (let's be honest, at $5 you get what you pay for). G Suite support will help you with things like problems with your email, but the Payments team is totally separate. Take a look at the support page - https://gsuite.google.com/support/ - it's pretty clear that they aren't going to help you clear things up outside of their specific area.

Same for Google Play store as a developer; didn't matter that I had a $5 account, different department so back to robo-emails you go.


I would agree with this, if you're using Google's personal free products for running a business. Get locked and you're in real trouble.

But Fi is a service that the customer is paying for, they should not be subject to automatic lockouts without any way to get it resolved other than to "start fresh."


Sure but there has been a huge complaint ongoing for years: G-Suite accounts cant make YouTube comments and do other things that normal accounts can. Google has said that they won't be fixing this regression.

The parent post concerns me as I use Google Domains. Now I'm hoping that also brings me up to that level of support.

Except that many services (e.g., Family Libraries, Family Link, etc.) don't work with G Suite accounts.

I've had such bad experiences on G Suite I've just gone back to the consumer Google One world of regular Gmail: https://medium.com/@buro9/one-account-all-of-google-4d292906...

I would not recommend G Suite to anyone who is a consumer or household any longer.


That article, despite being only a month old, is out of date or just wrong.

Yes, none of the "Family" products are available for G-Suite. That being said, all of the functionality beyond saving money is there with G-Suite. The saving money part is important, don't get me wrong. But sharing photos, seeing your "family's" (aka, your G-Suite organization's) stuff, etc, that's all there. Its just packaged differently, and in a way that's more expensive and substantially more powerful.

YouTube Music is definitely available on G-Suite. So is Google Fi; I'm on a Fi device on my G-Suite account right now (they enabled this early 2018 IIRC). Google Spaces is a discontinued product that isn't available for anyone.

The Google Home and Assistant is the only area today within G-Suite I've seen really weird behavior because I use a G-Suite account. Things like accessing your calendar just don't work right, and often result in errors. That's a very valid issue.

There are sacrifices to both approaches. I will gladly pay the extra money to, in turn, get access to a higher tier of account level support, unlimited storage, and the custom domain name. There are also a few products that are only available to G-Suite customers. CloudSearch is a single omnibar search service that does deep, filterable search on every resource in your G-Suite across all of their services (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc). Vault is also cool; I have rules set up which retain emails indefinitely, so even if I delete them from GMail they're still exportable from Vault. The Google Titan Key was also a hardware product that was only available for G-Suite customers for a while.


I don't generally get a response back, but more often than not, a negative tweet on twitter gets a resolution within a day or two.

They also have Google One now for 2$ a month.

> The only suggestion of a solution we’ve been given is that he abandon both his email address and phone number of the past twenty years and start fresh."

I believe that being able to port your number is a legal requirement. It's unlikely a poorly designed billing system is a permanent exception to this.


Seems you have to be current on your account to port your number. They aren't, but they also are unable to use Google payments to become current.

> Seems you have to be current on your account to port your number

This is illegal:

“Once you request service from a new company, your old company cannot refuse to port your number, even if you owe money for an outstanding balance or termination fee” [1].

Author should report Google Fi to the FCC once the government is back online.

[1] https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/porting-keeping-your-ph...


I'm not a lawyer yada yada but it says on my dollar bill that it's legal tender for all debts, public and private.

Show up at Google HQ security gate with cash in hand and journalist in tow?

Forget the journalist, just live stream it via a YouTube account with a psuedonym first/last name. Considering how disorganized Google is, I doubt they'd take it down for a good while (if at all).

Paging Banksy

Same thing happened to me! I got it fixed by submitting a BBB complaint.

Well, that's pretty damning. I hope this gets an answer from some Googler now that's it's out in the media.

I think the whole crux of the issue is that any one Googler wouldn't have enough oversight to answer.

Google is too complex of an organization, and the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. So issues become lost between CS, security, and accounting.

I've seen this from the other side. I've also seen it get mitigated by giving someone (customer service) ownership of the problem, and giving them enough organizational support to twist arms in other departments as needed.


Actually, former Payments Googler here. I have a pretty good idea what could have happened. I will escalate this internally. And no, it shouldn't require a Googler to fix it; something has gone wrong.

There are way too many stories like this around. Something goes wrong a scary amount of the time, and Google just have no useful process. It desperately needs a centralised "customer service" team who have the power to override literally anyone else in Google to sort this shit out.

Any tips for the rest of us stuck in the same "account suspended without explanation" purgatory? The article describes my own experience since November (and still stuck despite many emails and calls).

Approximately 42% of the 17 million left hands are unaware that any other hands of any sort exist, much less any of the 23 million right hands.

About 71% of the 17 million right hands are not aware that any other hands exist, much less the 13 million gripping hands.

See the problem here?


No, that shouldn't not be the support path to escalation because you know someone well connected at Google and/or cause an outrage.

It's not that hard, invest in customer service, understand that not everything can be handled by an algorithm and you won't have these classes of issues. Is it expensive? Sure. At some point though you're going to need some system that allows human intervention when things have gone off the rails.


I wonder how it really works. My first thought is to have a dedicated credit card used only to pay for my google services, kept in a drawer at home (and not uses for any other online service) and therefore unlikely (less likely?) to be used fraudulently. But I have three cards known to Google Payments. If any one of them has an issue would Google lock my account? I hope not.

Google never became evil , it just became senile.

> The only suggestion of a solution we’ve been given is that he abandon both his email address and phone number of the past twenty years and start fresh.

rofl thanks google you at least showed us you would treat everyone equally, and no exceptions even for your employees


> even a well-intentioned agent doesn’t get the same answer from the “security department” twice

So you've gotten agents fired? Or does the security department flip flop with a different answer each time?

I've thankfully never had to deal with Google support, so I'm curious about your experiences.


Calling it support is too generous. If Google’s automated systems can’t help you, you’re entering a world of pain.

> Google Fi won’t restore service or allow your number to be ported out until the bill is paid, so around and around we go.

I'm surprised this is legal. Number portability isn't something phone companies offer out of the kindness of their heart; it's required by law. Does the law really allow them to hold the number hostage as part of a payment dispute?

EDIT: Nope, this is illegal:

> Once you request service from a new company, your old company cannot refuse to port your number, even if you owe money for an outstanding balance or termination fee

https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/porting-keeping-your-ph...

I looks like the OP should file a complaint (and if necessary sue?) over this point.

Indeed, this is so clear cut it makes me doubt the OP's story. Does Google Fi say they do this anywhere?


We wrote an article describing how this can be done, we file complaints with the FCC for our customers against their former carriers all the time: https://www.communityphone.org/2018-08-07-how-to-file-a-comp...

This Reddit thread concluded that because a T-mobile account was suspended for non-payment and the number is unportable while suspended that the customer was out of luck.

https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/comments/4wotw8/tmobile_won...

I don't see how that matters legally. The FCC requirement doesn't make portability conditional on some account status defined by the carrier. But IANAL.


Since T-Mobile holds the primary numbers for Google Fi accounts, going from T-Mobile to Fi legally isn't a port, just a change in T-Mobiles billing system.

Yes. You’ll want to force a port from Google to AT&T or Verizon, and then back to T-Mobile if that’s who you want to end up with.

If your port is delayed or denied, file a complaint with the FCC, as this starts the regulatory review clock ticking.


Does that clock still tick with the government shutdown?

IANAL but I assume so. It’s just the enforcement that would wait.

I don’t know. I’d assume no.

I was just using T-Mobile as another example. OP wants to move from Google Fi to something else, and the reddit poster wanted to move from T-Mobile to something else. I wasn't suggesting a port from T-Mobile to Fi.

Google is, fundamentally, an engineering company. Despite their size and breadth, they still don't understand customer support. Their approach is to use software to solve problems, and they insist on doing so even when it's clear that software isn't up to the task.

Unfortunately, customer support is a hard problem. Despite all of the advances in NLP, I still abhor automated customer support systems when I have a complex issue. Just let me talk to a human.

Google long ago ran the numbers on providing human customer support and realized it's not the sort of ultra-scalable business function that they like to invest in. Rather, they'd like to believe that they can build software systems that don't require human customer support. As an end user, this feels like too much hubris and not enough empathy. It may work from the perspective of a product manager looking at percentages on a dashboard, but it sucks as someone in the real world trying to get something done with one of their products that's not functioning as it should.

I use the full suite of Google Products, including Project/Google Fi. This article describes one of my nightmares— getting locked out of my Google account. I'm fortunate that I have good friends that work at Google that could help out in such a worst-case scenario. This blogger is fortunate, too. Undoubtedly, some Googler will read this post and help them out.

But the average person isn't so lucky. If you're Jane or Joe Schmoe in Middle America, you're going to be screwed when your Google account goes haywire. I've had friends whose Google accounts have gotten into weird states that prevented them from using Google services for no obvious reason. I suspect this is due to an unfortunate consequence of Conway's Law [1] at work in Google's identity implementation.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conway%27s_law


I don't think engineering is the problem here. As an example, Toyota, a very engineering-driven company, is also famous for customer focus.

I think the problem is that Google is mostly about selling users' eyeballs to their real customers, advertisers. That's not a business of making individual users happy; it's essentially statistical in nature. With a search engine, if something works for 80 or 90% of people, that's great. If it's bad for the rest, well, tough luck for them. It's very hard to go from that to seeing each individual as valuable and important.


it costs $xxK to buy a car. It costs 0$ to use Gmail, Drive, Youtube, etc. These two are not gonna have the same level of customer support. Fi is a paid service, and I do expect it to have a better support (which in my own experience, they do), but to compare Google as a whole to Toyota doesn't seem fair.

Fair or not, I think it's accurate. If it costs $0 to use something, you're probably not the customer. You're the product.

I agree Fi is different, and I think it's reasonable for you to want better support. I'm saying that since Google is not used to lines of business where they actually have to care about every user, I'm saying it's unsurprising you won't get it.


Your parent's point though is that with the free offerings, you're not the customer. Google's advertisers are.

With the paid offerings you are the customer and comparing Google's CS to Toyota's or anybody else's is entirely fair.


To which I agree. Fi should and (normally) does have much much better customer support than average free Google products.

> That's not a business of making individual users happy; it's essentially statistical in nature.

Good point. Could telecom service (Project Fi) for individuals be moved to a different division of Alphabet?


I have friends at Google that are L5. When my AdWords account was suspended (long story but if you Google AdWords banned my hackernoom article explains) one of them tried to file a ticket on my behalf. Went nowhere. As far as I can tell internal actions like that go the same route as tickets that I file as a normal person. So don't let having googler friends give you a false sense of security.

You nailed the issue for me, the problem is that these software approaches to customer service always assume that the service is 100% not the problem and that the customer is the one causing the problem.

> Despite their size and breadth, they still don't understand customer support.

Cue Larry Page's view on customer support circa 2000, and it still makes sense. Leaders fundamentally don't change views like that, and it impacts the organization - look at Zuckerberg's formative views on privacy.


I didn't previously know what Larry Page's view on customer support circa 2000 was:

But while it's easy to scoff at Page's quirks—his odd obsessions, his unrealistic expectations, his impatience for a future dangling out of immediate reach—sometimes his seemingly crazy ideas wind up creating breakthrough innovations, and skeptical Googlers wind up admitting Page was right, after all. That was the reaction in 2003 when Denise Griffin, the person in charge of Google's small customer-support team, asked Page for a larger staff. Instead, he told her that the whole idea of customer support was ridiculous. Rather than assuming the unscalable task of answering users one by one, Page said, Google should enable users to answer one another's questions. The idea ran so counter to accepted practice that Griffin felt like she was about to lose her mind. But Google implemented Page's suggestion, creating a system called Google Forums, which let users share knowledge and answer one another's customer-support questions. It worked, and thereafter Griffin cited it as evidence of Page's instinctive brilliance.

https://www.wired.com/2011/03/mf-larrypage/


Yeah but it doesn't work.

It's one thing to be able to "answer questions". It's an entirely other thing to have access rights to actually solve a problem and the authority to do so.


Worse still, the forums are full of spammers, phishing and malware links.

I've posted in the past and had nothing but fake call centres and phishing links posted, which eventually get removed, but I did click on some of them (in sandboxed malware-analysis browsers) and it took a lot of searching and knowledge to realise that the numbers were fake - and I work in IT secops.


Good engineering, just like good customer service, is super easy if you put integrity first and don't compromise it. Don't grow beyond your capabilities to handle your stuff with integrity, done.

Stories like this make me incredibly wary about the future of my Google account. I've been using it for almost twelve years. It has a copy of every photo/video I've taken for almost eight years. It's what I use to download apps, listen to music, and pay for things, and get around. I'd be absolutely devastated if I suddenly lost it. I've been planning for a while now a sort of contingency plan where I regularly backup my emails and photos, but from what I've read even that's difficult to do.

Every time a comment like this comes up I say the same thing: Your email address is very very valuable and everything in the digital world is tied to it one way or the other. Own the domain so you can port it to another provider. Keep a copy of your emails somewhere - a mail app on your laptop?

If you use drive, sync it fully to a laptop.

It's not just Google, any service - paid or free, can and will shutdown your account. It's something you have to assume will happen to you - not just some random stranger on the internet. I don't know about you but I definitely don't want to deal with losing all my digital documents, pictures and most important all my accounts by losing my email address.

No one should be complacent about this.


You know, I currently use my own domain for email.

Maybe I am paranoid, but I worry about that when I die, my domain will expire, and then someone will register that domain and set up email accounts with it.

They would be able to access so many services that I would have left open after my death. I still don't know how to handle this apart from leaving a fund to someone I trust to have my domain renewed for a few more decades after my death.


You don't even need to die for this to be an issue. Your registrar could just screw up and sell your domain to someone else. Or your registrar could have a security breach resulting in your domain being transferred. There's a myriad of ways the "own your domain" solution could fail, so it's really about which risks you're willing to take.

Yes, I have thought about this as well.

One of the reasons I am in the process of moving all of my domains to Gandi is because they appear to be the only reputable domain registrar that supports U2F. I take security extremely seriously when it comes to my domains.


> One of the reasons I am in the process of moving all of my domains to Gandi is because they appear to be the only reputable domain registrar that supports U2F.

I use Gandi and am quite pleased with their security settings. Not only is my account secured with an absurdly long password, I have U2F enabled and I have enabled the IP restriction list so that authentication only succeeds when coming from one of them. They even fixed my only quibble. In the past, if I logged in with valid credentials but from an unlisted IP, the error message would say "you're coming from an IP that's not permitted." Now the message for all types of failures--bad password, wrong IP, incorrect TOTP code--is the same so an attacker can't confirm valid credentials.


Namecheap now finally supports TOTP and U2F is on their roadmap. I was close to dropping them before this recent development but it seems like they finally take this seriously

I always recommend namecheap when I can. Even though I technically work for a competitor lol. They're working on U2F: https://www.namecheap.com/blog/true-totp-2fa-and-u2f-are-com...

> I worry about that when I die, my domain will expire, and then someone will register that domain and set up email accounts with it.

The good news is that you will be dead, and so you won't be worrying about anything at all.


Your spouse might though, considering they could rack up charges on shared debit and credit cards.

I bought my domain through domains.google.com though, lol

Though, my nameservers are on bluehost. My biggest issue is figuring out other aspects of google-tied-ness. For example, everyone has my @gmail email right now. Websites, newsletters, contacts, everybody. Untying that will take a while. Also, I use Inbox for organizing my mail, and I like that a lot. I need to figure out a way to get similar functionality while using a me@example.com domain... either forwarding or something... but then how do I send mail FROM me@example.com?

Mail stuff is so obscure to me, I'd love to sit down and learn it sometime but there's always something "more pressing" for a work project or whatever for me to learn.

EDIT: So, I decided to give it another go. Seems impossible through Inbox, but through gmail I found a thing under settings to "add another email address I own" that lets me input manually the SMTP information that bluehost shows for my email. Might be working, who knows. I'm stuck waiting for google's "verify" email to turn up in my bluehost web inbox.


I just started the process of moving from gmail to an email on a custom domain through https://www.migadu.com/en/index.html. The setup process was pretty painfree and they provide very detailed setup instructions.

I haven't set my gmail to forward to the new email yet. I've spent the last month or so unsubscribing from a lot of email newsletters. Once I get the mail volume down even further, I'll setup gmail to autoforward and then give out my new email to those who need it.

I haven't yet found a Google Calendar substitute but that's lower priority right now.


iCloud calendar or hosting your own think on nextcloud?

What if someone hijacks your domain?

Yes, and you can't trust yahoo mail either. I lost mine about 8 years ago for completely unknown reasons. they just randomly shut it down one day. I was completely appalled and vowed to never ever use another yahoo product as long as i live. I wonder how many other people had a similar experience.

Its not particularly hard to back up your google data. The hard part is switching emails when the old one gets suddenly taken from you.

Get your own domain and start using it for email. Auto-forward your existing emails to your new email provider. Over time your use of your primary email will asymptotically reach zero. After a few years you will realize that if the original email disappeared overnight, nothing of value would be lost. You have to start the switch TODAY.

Yeah thats what I have done and its not too bad. The one question I have is what email to I put for my domain stuff. If my domain name provider suspends my domain for some reason how do I contact them if my email has also gone down?

A phone. Or some other email along with providing a way of identifying yourself.

I agree -- this single point of failure is incredibly scary. There must be a legal mechanism established to ensure consumers are protected. This is an inevitable technological cycle within markets:

1) a technology arises

2) usage spreads across consumers

3) consumers become deeply reliant on it

4) megacorps coalesce dominating market power over it

5) consumers demand protections from the government

We have to get to step 5.


I would love to get protection from the government. What company does that? /s

Academi.com will do it, if you are the high bidder.

The easiest way to mirror gmail, i have heard & am using is, to set a filter in gmail, forward every mail received to Hotmail. So, any point, Hotmail inbox is a pretty segregated but exact copy of Gmail

so you give two privacy ignoring companies all of your email (as well as portions of your email correspondents) instead of one? is control and some measure of privacy not worth the $50 or whatever to set up a paid account somewhere like https://www.protonmail.com/ ?

Your sarcastic comment is totally unwanted. Nowhere I talked about Privacy, just that its very unlikely of a user to get locked out of accessing all old emails at two major provides at same time. The thread itself is about Google, and the comment I replied to is worried about getting locked out of Emails at Google.

What are protonmail policies for unwanted user? Lockout? Backup?

$50 for you might be a whatever amount, but in few places it is a lot, and not desirable or able to spend this much on email.

By any chance do you work or connected with protonmail? I am connected with neither of all three, but have accounts at all three, just like anybody else.


Do you want to keep your photos and videos forever? You have to take your data in your own hands. At the very minimum keep an offline backup of things you care about.

I use a simple getmail[0] script to download all my Gmail automatically, and I use an address on my own domain too. For Google Photos however I haven't found a great backup solution, especially one that can work on Linux/FreeBSD.

[0] http://pyropus.ca/software/getmail/



Photobak is really close, but Google's API apparently has several issues making it not a true solution. IIRC you can't download the original uploaded bytes, and you can't get the original EXIF data.

I abandoned Fi after a trip to western Europe, where I was billed for 6 GB of usage in a single day on one of my data-only SIM cards, despite that the device the SIM was installed in (a 4G hotspot) registered only 200MB of usage that day.

Support was completely unhelpful, and after escalation reported back that the Fi team has zero visibility into chargebacks from their carrier partners and ergo could not diagnose the cause of the usage discrepancy. The lack of accountability on Fi's part, in addition to various annoyances (handset tendency to select Sprint coverage despite poor performance; handset tendency to override manual carrier selection to the detriment of service reliability; generally worse reliability and coverage than my previous carrier) led me to move back to Verizon. I pay an arm and a leg for my service, but at least it's highly reliable and available.


I just went to western Europe (Germany specifically), and spend 15 Euros for phone service there. It's simple: I just bought a SIM card at a shop (O2) and put it in my Verizon phone. I got a prepaid card that had unlimited text/calls (within Germany only), and 3GB of data, which was far more than enough for my 2 weeks there.

Cellular service is much cheaper in Europe than in the US, so you might as well take advantage of it. International calling plans for American phones are horrendously overpriced.

Of course, the downside is that I couldn't call or text anyone in the States, but who cares? That's what apps are for. I was able to talk to and message friends/family in the US using Facebook messenger and LINE. While on my hotel's free WiFi, my VoIP calls cost me nothing.


In Germany, they want your passport and an address to register a SIM. It's not one of the worst countries for buying a SIM, but it's not one of the best. Last time it took me trips to 3 or 4 stores and at least 90 minutes to get a SIM.

This is a fairly new requirement; it used to be possible to buy a SIM anonymously in Germany. Apparently some politician said "but terrorists" and put a stop to that.

In India, you can't even get a SIM unless you have local identification.

The same 3 GB of data would have costed you $30 with Fi (or less if you were already near/over the 6 GB threshold). Given that 15 EUR is about 18 USD, you essentially saved 12 USD.

Personally, I would have gladly paid $12 to not have to go to a store in foreign country, switch SIM cards, have to worry about hitting the 3 GB limit, lose the ability to call or text anyone in the states, etc. But to each, their own.


>The same 3 GB of data would have costed you $30 with Fi. Given that 15 EUR is about 18 USD, you essentially saved 12 USD.

First, EUR15 is about USD$17.25 for me, or it was when I was there. 1.2 is a lousy exchange rate.

Anyway, that quibble aside, saving $12 is more that worth it: having to use Fi at home would mean having to use the T-Mobile network, which in the US is absolutely horrible. I've used T-Mo in the past, as well as Sprint, and they're both lousy; they just don't have very good signal quality, especially if you get outside a major metro area.

>Personally, I would have gladly paid $12 to not have to go to a store in foreign country,

Personally, I would gladly pay $12/month to use a cellular network that doesn't suck in the US.

>have to worry about hitting the 3 GB limit

They have prepaid plans there with lots of different data allowances: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 5, etc. Pick whatever works for you. I didn't come close to using my 3GB, and could have saved even more money by getting one of the smaller plans.

>lose the ability to call or text anyone in the states,

As I said before, I had no trouble using apps like LINE to do this, and was frequently sending texts and photos to people that way while I was walking around. If your friends are too stupid to use a messaging app instead of SMS, then I can't help you. SMS is the worst way of texting. But, to each their own.


Note that this option may have some limitations depending on the country: Turkey blocks the IMEI of unregistered devices after 120 days, so if you plan to travel there multiple times, you may be out of luck (AFAIK only residents can register their device). So it is definitely worth checking the rules before traveling to a country.

Turkey is an authoritarian country run by a near-dictator, so I'm not sure this is a very good example.

My son will be traveling to Europe this summer for a school trip. He'll be spending time in 6 or 7 different countries (UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and a couple more I can't remember right now)

Is there a better option than Fi for this type of trip?


Roaming charges inside of the EU were eliminated in 2017, so a single prepaid SIM (readily available for a few dollars) would do him well inside of the EU. Make sure that he has a phone that's not vendor locked. That doesn't include Switzerland, and may not include the UK by the summer, but the SIM will still work there, just with additional charges (which are usually fairly reasonable).

On a recent trip to Europe, I found this prepaid SIM a much better value than Fi:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01FI1JW72/ref=cm_cr_arp_mb_b...


Any prepaid sim will let you roam, if you’re really worried get one from Three and it will work in the states too. Local calls will be routed back to the country where the sim came from, so actually using the phone for traditional voice calls will be pricey. Lebara UK has a cheap plan with 100 international minutes and a few gigs of data for like £10/30 days (last time I used it) and can be bought from any phone shop

edit I checked the Lebara data rates and it’s all included in the normal quota, except for Switzerland at £15/MB, so... maybe not


I've been to Europe a few times lately and I'm a massive fan of Vodafone's coverage and offerings. The only issue I had was the lack of tethering on a prepaid SIM, but the free wifi everywhere I went was normally good enough to use for anything I needed.

Definitely get a cheap sim card wherever he lands. The EU abolished all roaming charges for data and calls so he'll be able to use whatever data and calls he has in all EU countries.

Some countries have extremely good value pre paid sim cards with 20 gigs of data often coming in under €20 a month.


No roaming charges between members of EU. So, if he lands first in UK, don't buy the sim from there

picked up a one month sim in romania for $7. 20 gig of 4g data, 1000 min of call, unlimited text. calls were supposedly limited to romania but i called usa a few times without issue.

i to the same whenever i travel abroad -- be it USA (i use t-mobile) or europe (went twice, used o2 twice). it's a lot less complicated.

One of the bigger reasons I switched to Verizon was specifically coverage. There are a lot of areas (wyoming, dakotas, parts of idaho and northern utah and nevada) that I drive through where Verizon is the only carrier with any coverage.

I couldn't be convinced to switch to Fi, and frankly given the horror stories, not sure that I trust google should I ever fall afoul of their platform exclusion and zero support or transparency.


Verizon is primarily a CDMA network, which doesn't have coverage internationally unless you pay extra. Same with ATT.

We switched to Fi because we travel to Europe frequently and Fi doesn't charge extra for it, the phones just work when you land.


I don't even have a passport currently. If I did travel, I'm more likely to buy a throwaway cell with a different account and add the number to my google voice account dialing...

If you're stuck in rural US, then you should use Verizon for it's older CDMA networks. Spending extra money and going through the hassle of getting another phone while traveling is a personal preference it seems, but for people who do travel it's one less thing to worry about.

CDMA is going away. Verizon is supposed to drop 3G by end of this year.

I'll believe it when it happens since Verizon is only leasing the towers in rural areas. Also, just how many accounts on HN do you have?

- tracker1

- 1stranger


I got out of mobile development because of the dark abyss that was payments from the carriers. None of the places I worked at ever knew how big the next check was going to be and why it never matched up with our metrics.

I used to describe them as 'animals eating their own young'. VC money goes into a company, mobile carrier gets all the profits (and often, thousands of hours of free QA), company craters.


Also, use a dual SIM phone. Buy a PAYG SIM at your destination and use it for data. Then you remain contactable at your primary number.

I got a dual SIM phone three years ago (One Plus in my case), best thing ever. It's also one reason why I won't consider using iPhone.

More

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: