Furthermore, I'm trying to understand why everyone is saying that he should have backed up all of his data. They must be gigantic Google fanboys.
If Google is going to act like they can hold all of your data easily and effectively, why would a normal user back up their data? Would a normal user even know how? I doubt any of my friends would know where to start, or why they even should. After all, Google operates under the pretense of being a reliable service.
And let's get one thing clear: they ARE a reliable service. Up until they deactivate your account.