Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
How can we get Google Support?
446 points by fabpot on April 10, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 217 comments
The Symfony project, an Open-Source project (http://symfony.com/), uses Google Groups to host its mailing-lists. The service is free and we really appreciate it, but for no reasons, Google closed our access to one of our mailing-lists (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/symfony2).

That happened a few weeks ago and thanks to some inside people at Google, the mailing-list reappeared. As the admin of the list, I received no email about the closing of the mailing-list, no explanations, and not even an email when the mailing-list reopened after a few days of black-out.

I was not happy with this situation but I thought it was just a glitch. But then, some days ago, they did it again. The mailing-list is not accessible anymore, not even by me (the admin).

There is no way to get support, no way to get in touch with someone at Google. This is really frustrating. Of course, this is a free service and Google can do whatever they want, but I would at least expect a way to get some kind of support (hell, I'm even ready to pay fot it)... or at least, some kind of email (even an automatic one) telling me what we did wrong (and I doubt that we did anything wrong as the mailing-list is moderated and we are only talking about yet another PHP framework).

HELP! How can I get in touch with someone at Google? How can we get by our mailing-list?

They actively don't want to support you. Google have an official explanation - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bU0Z_HAzO3I

It boils down to the fact that even if every customer needed 1 minute of support every 2 years that would mean they'd have to employ 6 trillion people (or some rubbish).

As I said earlier this year, Google have total contempt for their customers - yes, even their paying customers. http://shkspr.mobi/blog/2013/02/googles-customer-contempt-co...

Self host. Don't rely on Google. Sadly, that's the only way to do it.

> yes, even their paying customers

This was the thread on Webmasterword, when Google closed Million USD Adwords advertiser accounts without warning, after changing their guidelines unannounced http://www.webmasterworld.com/google_adwords/4020049.htm

Google is completely automated, and individual customers don't exist, only statistically significant numbers.

> Self host. Don't rely on Google.

Or any other company if you don't have a contract that legally protects your data while it is on another company's server.

When it comes to paying customers, they do give you more access to personal support but you've got to be spending a serious amount of coin with them to get to that point.

Depends on what you mean by "access to support."

My company, and several of my customers with whom I've discussed this issue, spend a significant chunk of money on Google Apps and related Google services. We do get a customer support #, but all that means is someone answers the phone.

I'm not sure we've ever received actual support from them. We have trouble tickets for significant, documented issues that have been open for YEARS. The official answer is that someone from engineering will look into it and get back to us.

We're looking into ways to reduce our dependency on Google services, but of course it's a challenging and time-consuming endeavor to migrate away.

>Depends on what you mean by "access to support."

Weekly scheduled conference calls, and a specific agent assigned to our account with whom we had direct access.

In your blog post above, you repeatedly imply or directly state that we are its customers. I believe that's a huge error in your argument.

We are not Google's customers, we are Google's product. Google is an advertising business and we are the eyeballs it seeks. Android is merely meant as a pathway for those eyeballs. Same with Gmail, Youtube, etc.

Google giving us support is akin to a beef farm offering massages and a counseling hotline to their cattle.

No - this is not universally true.

e.g. Google Apps for Business is a PAID product that is not advertising supported.

The sales literature says "Count on our 24/7 customer support" - http://www.google.com/intl/en/enterprise/apps/business/benef...

Unfortunately, per my post above, customer support is basically every bit as lousy for customers of paid products as it is for users of free ones.

I agree when we're talking about Gmail & YouTube.

But when I'm paying Google several hundred pounds to buy a Nexus device, I think that I am a customer.

You are a customer for the hardware, but not the software or services, where you are again the product.

Google Play, however, has customer support.


Returning my Nexus 4 was a traumatic experience. It took over a month, with far too many emails and phone calls. Sadly, the customer support staff are probably trying their best, but the information and systems they have are completely inadequate.

I had the exact same experience. I emailed to return the nexus, did not get a response. I called them and they said they would set up a return, then I didn't hear anything. I called them again and they told me I past the deadline to return the tablet so they couldn't accept it. I then spent an hour arguing with them that I had started the return process before the deadline and that it was their lousy support that put us past the deadline.

Finally I just had to be obstinate and say "I want to speak to your manager." over and over and over again until I got to someone who knew how to look up my support ticket and see that I had started the return process before the deadline. Eventually they sent me the info I needed to return the device, but by that time I was so scared I would send it to them and then not get a refund that I chose to sell it instead.

Google giving us support is akin to a beef farm offering massages and a counseling hotline to their cattle.

LOL! :)

He talks about 1 billion people needing 10 minutes every 3 years would need 20,000 support people.

And Google could setup the fee for the support in such way that it is financially self-hosting.

Google can afford to provide support and not charge for it, Google makes plenty of profit.

The guy in the video acts as if hiring 40,000 people is ludicrous and unheard of. In reality, it's not even a large workforce compared to companies like Wal*Mart (2.1 million employees), Foxconn (1.2 employees) and Volkswagen (500k, employees).

Every decent company has customer support, Google couldn't care less. It doesn't even provide human support to advertisers, its source of income.

Whether Google should offer support, I don't know. But I'm not convinced by your argument.

The companies you name generally have low-skilled workers. Google support would have to be high-skilled and expensive.

Also, this is not just greed vs empathy. Everything has an opportunity cost. Google can spend $X staffing support lines for Gmail, or it can spend that money on developing features and bugfixes. This is a strategic business decision; either answer may be better for Google and its users.

Of course, they can spend the support savings on Olympic-sized swimming pools full of pudding. But you seem to be assuming they're doing that.

“Google can spend $X staffing support lines for Gmail, or it can spend that money on developing features and bugfixes.”

Or it can do both, because its budget is basically unlimited. Besides, you can't create features or bugfixes simply by adding more developers to a project. If that were true, Apple would be hiring developers by the truck load. Instead, they work with small teams, even though the company is raking in cash.

“Google support would have to be high-skilled and expensive.”

Let's compare Google with IBM, which has 470,000 employees. I would say that many of those employees are highly skilled and expensive. IBM has twice as much revenue as Google, makes more profit than Google, while employing ten times as many people.

A lot of IBM's employees are consultants. They are not cost centers for IBM, they are revenue/profit centers.

Each consultant employee that IBM hires adds to their revenue and profit.

Adding call center employees to google would not add to revenue or profit unless they had some method of allowing them to capture more rev. Adding purely customer support people would not benefit google.

By that reasoning, nobody should have customer support. Yet people do, because burning your customers is not a sustainable business practice. Support is not a profit center, but in the long term profits go down without it. If people's only loyalty to Google is that their service is free, they won't be hard to woo away.

I am talking about Google specifically rather than a hypothetical company that may need phone support to keep their customers.

If people's only loyalty to Google is that their service is free, they won't be hard to woo away.

People's other loyalty to google is that their service works pretty much perfectly. There is no free or even cost based product that I know of that beats gmail, google maps, google docs.

Before you list a bunch of startups no one outside of the tech community has heard of, remember that in order for the public to know about these products, those companies have to pay google to advertise. In addition to having to offer an insanely superior service, anyone entering the field must also know how to monetize which is challenging.

If a true competitor arises, they can be acquihired and integrated in to google which further limits google's need to spend millions of dollars a year on call centers.

The benefit would be being able to sleep at night.

>> you can't create features or bugfixes simply by adding more developers to a project.

Sure. But you can spin up new projects - Google Glass, Google Fiber, etc etc, by spending your money building new teams instead of supporting existing products.

Again, I'm not saying they're right, but there is certainly an opportunity cost to providing support.

>> its budget is basically unlimited

Nobody's budget is unlimited. If nothing else, Google answers to shareholders.

>> The companies you name generally have low-skilled workers. Google support would have to be high-skilled and expensive.

Not necessarily. Even if Google hired 100 for Gmail, 100 for Adsense, 100 for Adwords they'd probably solve 80% of the problems, given that they'd notice that the algo went nuts on something. Then, there are different levels of support, the expensive ones would be in the single digit %.

Even if Google pushed employees to use their 20% on providing support things would improve drastically. Or less defending of their employer on HN and more customer service :) . "How do I press send on Gmail" and "How do I search" are easily solved via tutorials, the real problem is when you are locked out of your account by an algo.

>> Also, this is not just greed vs empathy. Everything has an opportunity cost. Google can spend $X staffing support lines for Gmail, or it can spend that money on developing features and bugfixes. This is a strategic business decision; either answer may be better for Google and its users.

Google is insanely profitable, their margins can do down a bit. Obviously everything costs money but at some point you lose your reputation trying to pinch your pennies. I do not remember many negative Google posts a few years ago. Now they are everywhere, meaning that their reputation is no longer unquestionable.

math0ne: congratulations on your 5th anniversary here on HN! Unfortunately, you've been hellbanned for almost as long. That’s too bad, since your comments are insightful.


math0ne’s comment, a response to my assertion that not even advertisers get support from Google: “I just wanted to chime in and say that this is not totally true, at my work we have a direct google support contact for our advertising system. I have requested and received in depth support many time. I know you have to be a certain size to receive this though.”

That's the big difference between Google and say, Apple or Amazon. At other companies, this pressure would cause the formation of a new profit center. For Google, they see it as a quagmire of responsibilities.

If they wanted to pay 6k $ to each of these 20k support guy, they could ask for 6k*20k/(1 billion/3) = 36 cents per 10 minutes support !

Yes. Google charges you money only because they make it easier for you to host your email and have calendar, chat etc.

And on any given day hosting these things on your own is the best option out there but you might have to get your hands dirty or get it from a service provider who doesn't deny the existence of need for human interaction in customer service.

How do you feel about Google Fiber if this is how you feel Google treats its customers? When it comes to Google Fiber it seems like the whole community is incredibly excited, but many people also seem to hold the opinion that Google couldn't care less about its customers. I'm expecting Google Fiber to be an incredibly wonderful service, but do those who hold the opinion that Google "has total contempt" for its customers expect Google Fiber to be an awful service as well? Wouldn't that essentially defeat the purpose of Google Fiber?

I think Google devotes proportional resource to the products which give them value, and I think that's probably why Groups is being negelected. It is unfortunate for Groups users, but Google does have to make money.

Google Fiber offers plenty support options. http://support.google.com/fiber/answer/2457687?hl=en

Google Fibre isn't even on the radar for me. I'm in the UK and, as far as I can tell, it's only available to half-a-dozen people in the middle of nowhere.

If people are paying Google to be their ISP, I'd like an even higher level of customer support compared to the competition.

However, I'd expect it to be worse.

Google's explination is a terrible explanation. The assumption that everyone would need support, but that cannot be true. It is just an excuse with no reasoning behind it.

It's not an assumption, it's averaging, for every few people that wouldn't need support, there is one that would need support three or more times.

Isn't the fact that they are, by and large, getting away with not having any support at all proof that it wouldn't be such an overwhelming cost?

I've worked at a few companies where there were millions of customers, in every instance they've talked about how customer support is one of the biggest cost sinks in the company, and do everything possible to cut those costs. They will give employees one hour less than is required to give them benefits, then ask you to work overtime, they will reduce training from what was traditionally 1 month down to 5 days, they will move the call centre to whatever is cheapest and ultimately they will offshore the centre as much as possible. Google just went one logical step further and cut the cost (almost) completely.

I would think the fact that they are, by and large, getting away with not having any support, a great argument that they have made the right decision for now. If not having support is not impacting the bottom line what would their reasoning be for adding it.

No, logic doesn't work that way. Absence of X does not prove that X is cheap.

You know, in polite conversation "proof" usually doesn't mean "logical proof," the same way "or" usually means "exclusive or" rather than "inclusive or" as it does in formal logic. I mean evidence. Especially since we're talking about something so incredibly squishy and suppositional, nobody is going to be able to "prove" anything interesting in a formal capacity.

Generally, we consider a service being too expensive to be a good reason for a company not to offer that service. So not offering a service might be evidence that said service is too expensive to offer/operate. You can see this argument being made prominently in the Linode thread on the front page - someone complains that they don't offer a $10/month plan, and others point out it would be extremely expensive to support. Thus the lack of the $10/month plan is used as evidence that it is likely too expensive to offer.

You've gone the completely other way: you're saying the service not being offered is evidence that it is cheap. This is the opposite of the typical argument. So I'm reducing your idea here to its simplest logical form, trying to make it super clear to readers (and hopefully you) how ass-backwards it is.

My God you're unpleasant. You've completely restructured what I'm saying just so you can dump on it, and in the process you're doing a good job of convincing me I won't be able to formalize my argument sufficiently to please you. And I still care, for reasons I can't explain, to keep coming back for more. This will have to be the last one.

The Linode comparison doesn't hold at all. Linode have actual numbers to support their position. They are in a position to estimate the support costs, because they have other services they already have to support. Moreover, their product costs money and people expect that when they pay for something there will be support.

Google offers support for exactly one product (adwords). They have no basis for estimating the cost of support for a product like Google Groups. The argument that it will be expensive that you and others are putting forth is "Golly, support sure is expensive! You have to hire people and everything!" There's certainly reasons to expect that offering support might be expensive. But my entire point, which you seem intent on missing, is that they have been successful so far without offering any support at all, so why is it reasonable to expect that the demand for it will be so excessive that it would be financially untenable? Especially when people like the OP have suggested they would happily pay for it?

The other prong of your argument is that if it were tenable they would be doing it. I would argue that companies make good and bad decisions all the time. Looking to what they are currently doing with the assumption that it is the only right thing is a bit myopic. Companies miss opportunities and make mistakes all the time. That they're not doing it now is not evidence that it would be a mistake.

> Google offers support for exactly one product (adwords).

Since this a bald-faced lie, my unpleasantness is clearly warranted. You are clearly deriving arguments from a predetermined conclusion likely reached ages ago. At this point you apparently are trying to make inferences about demand without even trying to understand the existing supply, and the contortions you're going through to justify your existing beliefs are astonishing.

He's right, you are unpleasant. This is just ad hominem at this point.

When people don't argue in good faith, I think it's more important to make sure others following along see so and aren't misled by FUD and ignorance. I value that over being sensitive to the person who is participating in bad faith, as this user is.

Being pleasant and gentle to everyone is not the most important part of discourse, not even on HN.

As to the accusation of ad hominem: every single point I made was directed at - and based solely on - the arguments made by the other user. Once these arguments were ultimately found to be made in bad faith, I ended the discussion. That's not an ad hominem argument, that's ending an argument because of a negative evaluation of the other person's state of mind. Two very different things - almost unrelated, honestly.

I don't think he's literally saying it would be cheap. He's just saying that the fact that they can get away with not having support means not many people _require_ support, and therefore if support were made available theoretically not many people would take advantage of it.

Which I don't necessarily agree with, but I think the point is worth considering and not "ass-backwards" or completely illogical.

have you ever worked in support? The 2 minutes are not even enough to tell people that "this is the wrong hotline".

Once there is a Google support people will contact google and ask for help about anything on the web.

For many people Google is the web!!! IThere are peopple calling the ISPs support because "this site on your internet is broken". rJust imagine what would happen to google.

Back in the early 90's, we had a Mac only product that retailed for about $20. If a customer called in for support, in general, it meant that we made no profit on the product.

When we released a DOS / Windows 3.x version of the product at the same price, our sales shot up 10x the mac version - but the support calls we started getting usually ended up being support for DOS or Windows, not related to our product. So, effectively we were spending twice as much on support.

Of course, since we were selling so many more copies of the software, we still made money.

As a side effect, the support calls for the OS led us to develop quick scripts to get people back on their feet once we recognized the smell of their problem, which meant that they were more likely to buy our other software.

Customer loyalty is an intangible, but valuable asset, and is usually borne from direct customer interaction. When things go wrong, how is it handled?

If google did employ people to "fix the interwebz", I bet they'd find more customers for their paid services.

So far at least, all of Google's for-pay services are relatively niche/targeted at power users. I use Google products EXTREMELY heavily and I've never had occasion to consider a paid service of theirs. I think the overlap between "fix the interwebz" people and potential customers for paid services would be approximately zero.

It is possible however that what you're saying will open the door to charging for less niche services, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms.

At ISP contact centers, calls take 8 minutes on average. 75% of all customers never seek support, so average time spent on support is 2 minutes per customer.

I actually see this as an opportunity for Google to experiment with customer support. Seems that a lot of people are willing to pay for some basic level of support - so why not test that hypothesis ?

Setup a separate Customer Support organization for specific services. Staff with lower-skilled folks from cheaper locations (since cost seems to be such a huge concern). So a $X yearly plan entitles you to Y number of queries and gets you a response from customer support in N days.

For example a $20,000 per year engineer (very reasonable in lower cost locations) would require 2000 users paying 10 per year to breakeven.

The question is why would google even bother ?

Yes, self host anything that matters. I love free services from Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc. but for things that matter like my email, my web sites, and my blog I spend a little money and time and control everything.

I prefer being a paying customer. If I should ever have a problem with Dropbox or Evernote I bet I get good support. And, I have my data backed up locally.

If there is demand of support (and there seems to be): why don't they sell support - let's say 100$ per hour (or more if they think this is too low)?

Google acts this way because they can. They are a popular SE from back when they were relatively honest and unbiased and they also buy traffic from Mozilla, iOS, Opera etc. They use that traffic to push down competitors and promote their services via Search completing the circle.

When they get some real competition they will be nicer to their users and consumers. If you want to advertise online in any meaningful way, you cannot ignore Google. They know that so they act as a monopolistic tyrant (also see At&T, Verizon, banks etc)

Comparing Google to other monopolists and mega-corps with bad customer service is unfair to the latter.

All of these companies still have a huge staff trying to give customer support. Google isn't even trying.

I see your point, but I also think you're giving too much credit to the latter: they care not for your well-being, and any notion of "customer service" is 100% in the spirit of retaining or generating revenue.

This is pretty much the argument for the other side of the coin. Google probably designed the service understanding that situations like these would arise and would represent a small but acceptable amount of outrage.

Altruistically for Google it's probably better to not have support for non-ads-monetization (as in, a product that isn't interfaced with buying advertisers) products.

edit: some clarification.

And maybe some of them should not have that huge staff actually and sell their product by lower price instead. I think that's a real opportunitity/niche these days and it will get bigger in a foreseable future.

Support != sales

I'm paying for our company's google email accounts. I did that solely so I could get access to their support.

The support experience was outstanding. There was a smart, informed person handling the case. It was a tricky case, there were a number of emails exchanged and several lengthy phone calls, and it turned out not to be Google's fault at all (it was Rackspace's fault), and yet they were courteous, helpful, intelligent, informed, hands on.

One of the best support experiences I've had - but it only happened after we started paying for our email accounts.

gasp you mean you have to pay for something to expect support??? I'm glad you commented, because you bring a bit of reality to some of the other commenters who chime "Google doesn't offer support beause they don't have to." Umm, no, they don't offer support because only an idiot would offer support to customers who aren't paying for anything.

I get so tired of people who get "free" (yes, i know Google monetizes their use with ads) stuff wanting support. If you want support, you have to pay for it. The skilled person wearing the headset in the call center doesn't work for free.

There are two real problems with Google support.

1) For many products (like Groups), there is no paid tier, and thus no way to get support at all.

2) For paid products like Google Apps, it can still be very difficult to get support, even though you're paying (see other responses in this thread).

Groups is an "Apps" service - It's supported as part of the apps package. Even for most non-apps services, the support people will attempt to figure out your problem, though it's best-effort.

Disclosure: I work on Google Enterprise.

Thanks, I did not know that about Groups.

> Even for most non-apps services, the support people will attempt to figure out your problem, though it's best-effort.

Ah, but how can people get their problems in front of the support people for non-apps services? There is no obvious way to do so.

I had a problem with my Nexus 4, the FS got corrupted and wouldn't recognize any sim card, no amount of reset to factory defaults or flashing the rom would help. I had one small hitch getting ahold of their support, you had to call. My cell is my only phone so calling them was problematic. I had to use a friend's phone to do it, but once I got past the gatekeeper, I just interacted with the techs via email. After some very simple troubleshooting they emailed me shipping labels whilst shipping me a new phone. I've never had a company ship me a replacement before they received the dud, that was quite refreshing.

And which number exactly did you call?

1-855-836-3987, which is the number for returning a nexus device (for Canada at least), and it looks like they now allow you to fill out a form now instead if you wish.

Hey I would like to jump in and say I had a great experience with the Irish support guys on two separate occasions. $50 a year for google apps for biz.

Another 'me too' from here, but I'd also add the I've found the support uniformly excellent across Apps and the 'Cloud Platform' (App Engine, Cloud Storage etc.).

Interestingly, it's been the sales interactions I've found most frustrating - once you're large enough to have outgrown the online purchasing mechanisms for Google Apps, for example, provisioning new accounts is a world of pain.

I've had a TERRIBLE experience with PAYING app engine commercial account. Important document disappeared, took a week and constant 'nagging' from myself in order to finally get this under control. As a note I was the one who pushed for our company to start using this service from 'do no evil' corporation ... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5292645

The statement was "don't be evil", not "do no evil". It's about trying to do the right thing, not never messing up and causing harm.

How on earth did you manage that? We pay for our business Google Apps, but I never even got as much as a reply.

Sounds like our experience. One email address wasn't working, out of 25, and all they had for support was a troubleshooting page. After wasting an hour contacting Google, we got an automated reply that some accounts were being affected, and then about 2 days later the problem magically went away.

I can't remember exactly now (it was some months ago), but there was a support link on the apps control panel, some kind of funky procedure with providing a number that justified that we were a google apps paying customer, and then it took them about a day to respond, but once they were on the case, they were good and very responsive. It took a few days to hunt down the issue.

This is an aside, but does anyone know if there's a way to get Google Apps but keep using your gmail address? I'd be happy to pay the Google Apps subscription rate, but I don't want to go through the pain of switching my email address to a new custom domain. I'm guessing that you can set up a forwarding rule from the gmail account to the new one, and then use the Send As feature in the new account, but that seems pretty kludgy. Is there a better way?

As a Google Apps user, you do NOT want to do this.

You are well advised to host your email elsewhere and have it relayed to your normal Google account (and add the email address as a Google identity and a send-as in gmail).

I'll tell you why:

+ Google Apps users are the LAST group of people to get access to new google products (Google+ for example) + You can NOT add new emails to your identity information + There is no appropriate way to transfer your identity

Thanks for the first hand feedback. What do you mean about 'not add new emails to your identity information'? I'm OK with missing out on the latest & greatest features/products. I also don't really care about Google+, if that's what your third point was talking about?

You've hit the nail on the head -- thats precisely the way to do it.

Thanks, but that seems kind of backwards - that way you're using the free/unsupported gmail account as the 'front end' to relay incoming mail to your paid/supported Apps account. If you then call Google up to troubleshoot something, would they blame issues on the free gMail relay? What if the free account was occasionally flaky, and you missed getting some emails forwarded... Also from what I've read, the gMail 'Send As' feature has been not exactly transparent previously, maybe that's been fixed now? I don't know if the fact that both email accounts are Google would help make this not a problem.

too bad there is nothing between free gmail and google apps. I'd like a personal paid account with support.

Support for what?

Interesting how the above responses all said they paid for Google Apps and then used the support, nothing wrong with that, but it seems as soon as you pay for something that offers support, people then feel like they need to use it just because they can, almost as a justification for paying for it.

I can't see why you would need support for a single personal GMail account? What problem could you possibly have that Google haven't spotted or the answer isn't available on the internet somewhere?!

a quick glance on the gmail support forums will answer your uncertainties. (hint: most of the serious ones are about loosing access and/or sec issues)

when I got locked out of my account with 2-step auth (a specific set of coincidences led to it), seeking help took over a week, 3 or 4 threads on the group, almost stalking a moderator (they are the ones who handle the support, and then contact the real google) so I got attention, after which for a few days I was in a dance between questions of doubtful relevance and requests to repeat the recovery process for the n-th time, etc. in the end, the guy was very helpful, and you should keep in mind they are the only ones that can actually rush somehow your process and you are at their mercy. needless to say, the overall experience with google support is terrible, painful and very frustrating.

I'd really pay a few bucks so I could message google directly explaining my specific problem and seek direct help instead of trying to convince a volunteer on a forum for a week, rewording the same problem for 10 times. and yes, my problem was specific enough so the automated process couldn't cover it and I actually needed a person, not a bot.

I had a similar issue - I couldn't recover my email after it was compromised (on a side note - a log in from South Korea, Burma and US spanning an hour seems like a candidate for suspicious activity?) I couldn't use the recovery email or provide proof of ownership which complied with whatever algorithm had been implemented - was basically rendered helpless even though I could provide other details such as exactly when I had set up the email and other personal details. Incredibly frustrating and fair enough it is a free service but I would've happily paid for some "support" and saved a lot of trouble. Instead it has caused me to migrate as much away from G as possible and rethink any dependencies.

In response to your second paragraph: Are you expecting people who paid for support and didn't use it to chime in? What are they supposed to say?

Is $5 per month too expensive?

google apps isn't an upgrade for gmail. it's setting up an account in a separate infrastructure with different features and limitations, where features are developped and rolled out on a different schedule. even most google faqs advise that you should set up a separate account for your google apps business needs, because migration is a pain, and you win some lose some.

Excellent point, zalew. I've looked into this too and found the issues with migrating to be too numerous to proceed. Some products like Plus seemed to have no migration path when I last checked.

I have to agree with this. while I'm not always happy with the outcome of the support exchange (i.e. "it is how it is, we cannot raise the attachment size limit even for paying customers") the support staff was always prompt, technical versatile and friendly. once they even called me back after a day or two to verify I'm happy. and this was just for a 4-user google apps account.

I'm a Google Apps authorized reseller. Even for me it is very hard to get support.

Recently we had a problem concerning the Gmail IMAP API and the X-GM_RAW extension.

- https://developers.google.com/google-apps/gmail/imap_extensi...

Quoting from the docs: "Arguments passed along with the X-GM-RAW attribute when executing the SEARCH or UID SEARCH commands will be interpreted in the same manner as in the Gmail web interface"

But this is not true. For example, the in:anywhere filter will not work in the same manner as in the Gmail web interface. In fact, it is ignored. We opened a support ticket at the "enterprise support" portal (https://enterprise.google.com/supportcenter/), and after 2 weeks dealing with some entity that could very well be a chat bot, no solution.

By trial and error we discovered that in order to get the same result as "in:anywhere" you have to issue an IMAP select to the folder "[Gmail]/All Mail" - which has a different name depending on the user Gmail language settings - for example, its "[Gmail]/Todos" in Spanish (you have to list all folders and look for a folder with the "\All" flag).

The document is still incorrect today. Having a billion users is not an excuse for crappy support. Seems like the whole experience is designed to be opaque and frustrating, to make you feel like you were the character of "The Trial" from Kafka.

What support? There is no support at Google and this is by design. If they had support it would not be possible to offer what Google offers. You are shut down by robot and that decision is final. There is no support. And robots do not tell what you did wrong because this would be knowledge on how to play robots.

I seriously wonder how long such a begging - please Google, good Google - will finally end.

He’s willing to pay for the support. Just as most people in similar positions. Doesn’t that change the feasibility?

No, probably not. Think of how much Google earns per employee. Now think of how much they would earn per support employee. The numbers are probably not even even the same order of magnitude.

Moreover, Google makes money from each mailing list (for example) by displaying ads. The revenue that they bring in from each list is pretty small; the key to their income is the huge number of lists that they support. So losing even 100 lists every week, I have to imagine, wouldn't put much of a dent in their income.

By contrast, the overhead and cost associated with hiring, training, paying (salary + benefits), and supporting an employee are pretty high, particularly when you're offering a commodity product competing with other commodity (and free) products.

From a user's perspective, it seems insane for Google to ignore the business opportunity associated with support. But I have to believe that they've run the math, and that ticking off a number of their customers is cheaper than charging them for decent support.

I doubt that they ever did the math in the sense of estimating the numbers on a piece of paper. Service number for 10 cents a minute * 60 minutes = 6$ an hour. (My old mobile operator charged 15 eurocents per minute!) There is hardly an excuse for no support. Even less considering that these numbers do not include happy non-tech customers.

If you can't afford to support it you can't afford to run it.

I'm not saying that this is a desirable situation for users. But I also think it's clear that Google has made a calculated decision -- they want to offer their products for free to as many people as possible, and then avoid supporting them.

I would think that the lesson here isn't that Google should be supporting its products, but rather that people should think twice before using unsupported, free products.

I believe that it was Henry Luce, the founder of Time magazine, who said that if you aren't paying for a product, then you're the product. And indeed, that's what we see with Google: They give away their products in order to sell your eyeballs to advertisers.

This doesn't make them an evil company (although perhaps other things do). They have a legitimate business model that seems to work for many people.

Complaining that Google isn't willing to offer support, free or paid, is an indication that your interests and Google's aren't aligned. They're not about to change, so perhaps you shouldn't run your service on their system.

Support is not a boolean atribute. There is a broad range of support intensity from user forums up to in person, on site support. Different services have different levels of appropriate support and the service provider has to decide what level makes sense - and customers have to decide what they need. (Which I admit can be hard to predict.) There was never any promise of strong individual support for this service.

I don't think this is true, Google seem to be doing pretty well financially, as do plenty of other companies with terrible support.

For many products and services the support would be far more expensive than providing the "main" service.

There is a LOT of well deserved space for stuff provided "as-is", with an explicit refusal to do any support at all, but still very useful for the 'customer'. For example, large part of free software.

Not willing to license that business opportunity to smaller/outsourced companies is regretful.

He's only willing to pay for support when something goes wrong. That does not cover the cost of providing support. It must cover its costs with subscribing members who pay for service even when they don't immediately need it.

Its like healthcare. The system doesn't work if you don't pay when you're healthy and only decide to get coverage when you're sick.

    Its like healthcare. The system doesn't work if you don't pay when you're healthy and only decide to get coverage when you're sick.

On the contrary, it works pretty well, in many countries across the globe.

You probably mean some kind of health insurance. In many countries, this insurance is actually a government tax, so you cannot opt out.

So the parallel here would be a mandatory "Google Support Tax" :-)

It's called Google AdWords.

It doesn't necessarily. It's simple to think up of economic models where, just because some people are willing to pay for something, doesn't mean it makes sense for someone to sell it.

In this case, it clearly does not. This type of (completely understandable) bitching has been going on for years, and Google is not changing a thing.

A good example being the old Google Answers. It was amazing, and it worked by people paying for every answer, but it was shutdown.

It may be that paid support would be profitable, but still google shouldn't do it. They've openly expressed that their strategy will be only on businesses/products with large ($1B+?) potential, to ensure focus; and killed a number of semi-popular, profitable but "too small" products.

Would paid support for the free stuff even be a rounding error's (on google scale) worth of revenue, much less profit?

At the moment their only feedback mechanism is social media / back door complaints and people leaving their services. This seems suboptimal.

That depends on what you're optimizing for.

They do have support. For example http://contact.googleapps.com/?&rd=1

For paying Google Apps customers.

There's no paid level of service for a non-Apps Google Group.

Yes, that is true. And I believe they don't have (proper) support even for some paid services, such as App Engine or AdWords. But I was mainly replying to "There is no support at Google".

App Engine has support. We've found them to be helpful so far.


I like how this has 366 up votes in the last 8 hrs and is at spot 15 as I write this. Perhaps there is a strong bias against whining about free services not having support.

Short answer: In order to get in touch with someone to talk to at Google, first talk to a sales rep for Google Apps and buy the product, ask the Sales rep to put you in touch with your assigned support engineer. Your costs are going to go up quite a bit.

Longer answer: These services aren't "free", they cost money and resources to run. Everyone knows this of course but for some reason it sort of doesn't sink in. You have exactly two choices here, one you can use someone else's "free" service and periodically get bitten in the balls when it either fails, decides to shut down, or randomly disables your access. Or you can build your own version of the service for your organization where you end up spending someone on your staff's "free" time to maintain it and some of your excess budget to "host" it. The good news is that nearly all the groups that might currently be doing this can get away with a single "business" class IP service with 1 dedicated IP address. So figure $60 - $100 a month depending on your location.

Seriously, that is it. Those are your choices. So suggestions:

1) First exfitrate all your meta data you currently use for Google Groups. Which is to say download all the email addresses and membership lists.

2) Second start looking around for an alternative solution (check in your organization perhaps someone already has a machine "hosted" somewhere they can donate to your cause)

3) Third, I really would talk to the sales guy (or gal) at Google to get pricing and while you are at it you can mention your having troubles and they may be able to contact someone inside who will help you out.

This is simple: Don't use google Services, if you do not pay for it. (EDIT: Search is not meant)

GoogleReader is best example, Google has actually become evil.

@fabpot Did you take a look at Discourse?

Don't use Google services, especially for business purposes. Paid support is about as good as free support at Google.

We use Google Apps for Business (the paid one), and the support we have had with that has been great. We even got Google to phone us and talk us through an issue we were having!

You should try Microsoft support. Straight through to a human who knows what they are talking about without waiting EVERY TIME.

Not only that, Office even works ENTIRELY offline.

And it opens all our documents absolutely perfectly EVERY TINE.

Yes this is facetious: Google have forced peoples standards down.

I'm probably the least fan of Microsoft in the world, but I have to agree with you on that. More generally, cloud products are extremely convenient on the surface, but beneath the water there is an iceberg of trouble.

Especially when you don't have your own backups of the data, as usual with these kind of services. Outages, unexplained data loss, services being shut down, users being locked out for unrelated reasons (oh you didn't put your real name in G+?), unexpected changes to the interface and software, the list goes on.

The vendor lock-in is even worse than when using closed-source software with DRM. At least you can keep running those (if necessary in an emulator) when discontinued, or reverse engineer them...

More generally, cloud products are extremely convenient on the surface, but beneath the water there is an iceberg of trouble.

Or cloud services are great, until it rains ;)

You left out the bit where Google invested massively in one of the few credible alternatives to Office, and forced Microsoft to reengineer their products to enable online collaboration. So, it's a step or two backwards on support and a leap forward on functionality and access (You can get fully functional Google Docs for free, just not on your own domain, Office 365 seems to be £80/year).

You can also get free Microsoft Office apps in SkyDive, which are actually better than Google Docs (and don't screw up your documents). These apps don't need an Office 365 sub.

Despite the name, Office 365 isn't really about Office -- you already have it -- it's selling web-based SharePoint and other services.

Try and listen to yourself. You sound really excited because you paid for their service, and even got to talk to an employee at the office when you had a problem. Think about if other companies would treat you like this, then good support would not be the word to use...

Have you ever had to talk to any support? They gereraly tend to be crap.

I have talked to support, and yes they tend to be quite crappy. I only know two companies doing it right. They're usually the underdogs on the market, providing the same service as their bigger competitors only much better and with better support. Xs4all is an ISP in the Netherlands, not one of the biggest but definitely one of the best. Spotify advertised so much that they worked Grooveshark out of the market, but Grooveshark's support is sublime and they're also cheaper than Spotify.

Most companies have "almost acceptable" support. You can talk to someone, they talk back, and most of the time (not always) they can solve your problem within 40 minutes of waiting on the phone and forwarding you to 6 others.

Then there are companies like Google and Microsoft. They deliver products, not support. Having trouble with Windows? Try talking to whoever delivered your pc. Not those who made the product and know everything about it, instead you talk to the person who sold you the system. That's like asking a 17-year-old working in a supermarket about why the doctor prescribed a product of theirs. Smart move by the doctor though, he makes way more money when you come in than when he explains his prescription to you on the phone.

Microsoft actually tend to have pretty good support.

Yes, but the main point is that there is a point of contact. It is easier to get hold of God than Google...

Funny analogy. I guess many would even say it's really true ;)

In most companies you can access better support by paying more. The frustrating thing about Google is that they do not offer this option for most of their products.

In most companies, even the "better" support is utterly useless. And I'm saying that about cases where we were paying seven figure fees annually for that support.

Thanks for the anecdote. Statistically, though, Google has no support.

We did consider Discourse and phpBB as migration options, but it seems there is no solution that will make everyone happy (there already is a forum in parallel to the mailing list actually). Many people like the mailing list concept and like to manage all this in their inbox.

Obviously switching to a self-hosted mailman is an option too. But having no access whatsoever to the group, migration is kind of a pain since you have no way of even contacting everyone that was subscribed.

Did you look into Librelist[0]? They also offer rsync access to your archives, so making backups is trivial.

[0] http://librelist.com/

I guess you mostly want to fix your current problem but if it's of interest in the longer term, we're building an email-based tool to not only handle the mailing lists but also help turn their content into documentation - http://copyin.com.

We're going to be rolling this out with a number of Rails and Android open-source projects and if you'd be interested in speaking it would be great to include you guys. If would be of help please feel free to contact me directly: peter dot nixey at copyin dot com.

Shutting down a free service that they own... evil?

If Starbucks invaded your city and used their cash pile to give away free coffee for years until there were no more independent coffee bars left, and then suddenly decided to close up shop leaving you with no decent coffee bars, would that make them evil? At least it would make them careless and insensitive.

A better option would be to a) charge a price and compete fairly in the first place, or b) open source or sell off the product so it could live on.

Assuming Starbucks coffee wasn't the crap it is, I'd be glad if they did so. New coffee bars can and would be opened once they left anyway, and until then, we'd get free coffee. Seems like an excellent deal to me.

In any case, "Starbucks" didn't prevent me from having some good homemade coffee for a few months now.

The problem is that after so many years of free coffee almost nobody will want to pay for it again.

Not only that, but people would probably be wary of investing too much in a new coffee shop. After all, if Starbucks changed their mind so suddenly, what's to keep them from changing their mind again?

Why do you consider it a sudden change of mind? They announced the "spring cleaning"[1] in 2011 and have been gradually closing services since then.

[1]: http://googleblog.blogspot.pt/2011/09/fall-spring-clean.html

If nobody else can sustain a free model then either the price will rise or people didn't actually want coffee all that much anyway.

..or maybe Starbucks successfully pushed the consumers to some other way of consuming coffee (for instance hypothetical store-bought Starbuck espresso capsules)

...and if the consumer is satisfied with his new way of consuming coffee, then what harm was done?

Maybe most consumers are satisfied, but the ones that are not don't make up a big enough population to sustain a good coffee bar?

So then it turns out that your small group doesn't matter as much as you think it did, and it turned out to be smaller than you thought. That is, as they say, tough.

Look, just because you want something to happen doesn't make it viable in the long term, and someone who demonstrated it was not viable in the long term doesn't become evil because they sped that process up. If they actually burned down all the other coffee bars in the process, that's one thing, but they didn't. They convinced folks to be satisied with something else.

You have literally just said "What if the remaining users are not enough to support a viable product I liked".

Then there aren't enough to support a non-viable product you liked, and that wouldn't be any different no matter how it happened. The only difference is it happened in 5 years instead of 50. If the other way was still something that satisfied people, one would assume others would eventually revert to it.

All drugs have some set of side effects, and usually very badly effect some small percentage of the population that won't know until the take them. Does this alone make releasing any drug evil?

If not, can we please just move the discussion along into social utility territory, instead of the "well, it hurt someone somewhere, so it's evil" stuff?

Contrary the misquoting a few parents up, the statement was "don't be evil" not "do no evil". This is an attempt to be guided by doing the right thing, not an attempt to ever avoid harming anyone. Basically, whether someone is being evil or not is not about you, it's about them.

I think there's a big difference between demonstrating that something is not viable in the long term, and some company killing off a business because it suits their particular business goals and they have the money to do it.

Consumer habits, laws and lots of other things can and are changed by businesses, and it's naive to think that all or even most of these changes are inevitable or for the better just because they happen.

I think it's to simplistic to ask whether a certain company is being evil or not. The discussion about what is evil and not isn't very relevant to someone who just lost their business because some algorithm tripped inside Google and nobody inside Google can help. It would be better if Google committed itself to more concrete promises about how to treat their customers and what not to do, and had independent audits to keep them honest. But as long as they are as dominant as they are, they'll never have to.

I think there's a big difference between demonstrating that something is not viable in the long term, and some company killing off a business because it suits their particular business goals and they have the money to do it.

Are you saying that Google created Reader eight years ago, with the only purpose of now killing it to somehow feed Google+? If they actually did so, then I'm in impressed by their long-term thinking, but I don't see how you can derive that conclusion. (And I'm further not convinced at all that killing Reader suits their business goals in any way, except for not having to waste manpower maintaining it)

No, I'm not saying that. I was thinking about the hypothetical coffee chain, and I'm countering his idea (from what he writes, that any market change that happens is "inevitable" and that businesses can merely accelerate or delay that change).

I don't think Google had any plans for Reader except that making Reader would be neat. And then they decided that killing it off would be a better idea. I'm certain that it's hurting their business long-term.

So starbucks wouldn't be able to hike the price after giving it away for free? Consumer still wins.

you've never had one of those headaches you get on the third day of not getting a cup.

aren't these people evil then?

Google aren't closing their main product offering though (Search). A better analogy might be if they decided to give away little biscuits for free for many years and then one day stopped it... point being their main product is subsidising the other 'free' product as a way to get people to use Starbucks.

A real-life example might be their 'free WiFi'. They are well within their rights to stop doing this tomorrow if they choose to. Good luck to anyone who complains because their business is affected because they chose to base themselves out of a Starbucks!

True, that's a better analogy, especially if they drove local bakeries out of business by giving away muffins and other baked goods for free.

> If Starbucks invaded your city and used their cash pile to give away free coffee for years until there were no more independent coffee bars left

That's why it is illegal (in some countries at least).

So should free Internet sites be illegal? The NYT used to be free, now it's paid. Is that evil? Is HN evil for not charging?

Anti-dumping laws make sense when you're talking about hard goods with a concrete marginal cost of goods sold (like coffee.) Theydon't make much sense for web sites and software.

It's not about being free or not. You shouldn't operate with loss only to drive customers away from competition. That being said, I don't believe these laws should apply to online services. It's entirely different market. I was mentioning it because the example with Starbucks couldn't happen, thus it was a bad example.

Open source coffee. We could be on to something...

"Evil" has special meaning with Google, since their unofficial motto in the early days was "Don't be evil." Which was an ironically hyperbolic way of saying "Don't be a dick." Which they often are these days.

you failed this city!!!

This is why I don't understand why people use services like Google Hosted Libraries, it's a matter of time someone at Google pulls the plug or messes up breaking your website in the process.

The flipside is that companies, even ones as massively profitable as Google, should not offer free services. Why isn't search meant? What about GMail? Millions and millions of people benefit from a simple, free e-mail account with world-class spam protection. Is this also 'simple'? You advice to all these people is that they should pay up or leave? Or should they just live with the risk that sometimes things change?

Here's the thing: Even paid-for services can end up being a nuisance that you want to divest.

This is a bit different to the Reader scenario. They're not shutting down Google Groups, they've shut down one particular group, without explanation. I think the symfony community would be happy if we could just get to the data to move.

It's not: Google doesn't care about its users in both cases.

I wouldn't say that they don't care. They certainly appear not to prioritise the customer, who when selling services should always be the single most important priority.

Yeah, that's really helpful to him now. Solves all his problems... </sarcasm>

The key is to find the Google people on the Groups team on Twitter. This is how I finally got an Analytics issue resolved that had been going on for months. Google employees generally want to help, there is just no way into the wall.

Sadly, public shaming on social media seems to be the most efficient way of getting issues resolved these days.

This is why I'm working on a mailing list service to replace Google Groups. We're just finishing off things at the moment but maybe we can help you? We're planning on giving free accounts for open source software projects. Email me if you're interested: tom@almostobsolete.net

Unless you're doing something awesome, it's going to be hard to compete with a paid mailing list.

You're supposed to use g+ communities now. Have you not been following? E-mail based lists you say? pfffff, didn't you hear they're shutting down email and replacing it with 'Babble'?

This is the second most upvoted comment in this thread? Wow. I had to double check I'm not reading Reddit.

[HN Meta] Comments aren't ranked by upvotes. The stuff at the top has a combination of upvotes, recency, and a poster with a high average comment rating (discounting their most recent X comments). So if someone who is typically insightful posts something inane, it will still appear near the top.

(Edit: not that I actually think the original comment was inane. Forgot context when I wrote this -- sorry!)

>"[HN Meta] Comments aren't ranked by upvotes." //

How do you know? I've been told on several occasions that rank is by vote difference (ie up - down).

The irony is that your comment typifies the common reply to said reddit comments: "omg this is the top comment in a /r/WorldNews thread? I had to check if I was in /r/AdviceAnimals..."

You can't unless you submit it to techcrunch and Google’s pr sees it...

  I just spent a couple hours figuring out how to get blogger custom domains to play nicely with google apps.  
It pains me to say this (CISPA, Elephant hunting et al) but Godaddy actually has decent customer support and last time I used it, it was based in the USA. Hell even Comcast has an office down the road.

If people are willing to pay for support, then why do they stick with company that does not offer paid support? Why not simply switch some other company that has adequate support plans available?

I see also positive side in Google not catering all possible needs. This leaves space for smaller companies to cover these needs and make some money while doing it.

Looks like @ianbarber fixed the issue..

[1]: https://twitter.com/ianbarber/status/321942852823289856

As of this writing, there's still no explanation as to why this Google Group was shut down. Google may shut it down again later today. I hope OP moves quickly to archive the list's contents and get that mailing list hosted elsewhere!

Seems to be in Read-Only mode. I couldn't post to group.

I think the problem here is not only about Google providing support or not. The problem is when they are not providing support, how they make it possible for users to solve problems themselves.

If you are gonna close a user's account, either by human or by a robot, you should notify the user before you do it, so that the user can fix the violation if there's any, or find/migrate to an alternative.

Mailing-lists might not be the worst. I mean if you have a backup list including every members email address, you can email them about switching to an alternative. But imagine your Google Apps free account is closed without any prior notification. You suddenly cannot use your email. You decide that you can't have your email address dead knowing that emails sent to it just sink, so you sign up another custom-domain email provider (or build your own on ec2), and tweak with the configurations, which takes an hour. Then you go to your DNS provider and update MX records. Oops, DNS updates can take several hours even one day to synchronize. That's up to a day that you are worrying about missing important emails.

And it did happen before: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4825445

> If you are gonna close a user's account, either by human or by a robot, you should notify the user before you do it, so that the user can fix the violation if there's any, or find/migrate to an alternative.

Google is not providing support to save costs. If Google implemented warning emails and some sort of compliance check or communication to indicate issues have been addressed, that would add costs as well.

Google Support - isn't it an oxymoron?

This could be an idea for a startup. A middleman support service for contacting Google.

That's a terrible idea. You couldn't help those people as you don't have access to anything.

It's not terrible. You specialize by building up relationships with people at Google and when you're big enough they will have no coice but to listen to you and your clients. It will be a movement.

It looks like Google underestimate consequences of such fatalistic behavior.

Try mailman. It's pretty old, but it's pretty widely used for mailing lists.

The point is that he probably has many people already subscribed to this list which he will lose without getting it turned back on.

No. that's not the point.

Besides, you can download your subscribers from Google Groups.

I don't think you can download your subscribers if your group has been deleted, can you?

Of course not, but every good sysadmin knows to take backups periodically, right?

What are some good alternatives to Google Groups then? Seems like it'd be good territory for a startup?

It seems like good territory for a hobby project, not a startup.

I have no evidence for this, but my guess is your group's name (Symfony2) fails a heuristics challenge, and was disabled by a bot. Perhaps other groups with variants on "phony" or ending with a number have been used for ill purpose by others.

(Yes, I realize Symfony is a software framework, but my hypothetical bot may be using name-matching alone.)

Google should auction off customer support, like it does AdWords.

Hire as many support staff per product as Google deems profitable. When submitting a support request, I indicate how much I'm willing to pay to receive an answer. The highest bids get answers, the rest don't (or get slower answers depending on request volume and difficulty).

Come on Github, just release the only feature you are lacking! mailing lists!

If you have a Google AdWords account and are spending a sizable amount of money on it you'll have a dedicated Account Executive to help you manage your relationship with Google. I once worked for a small firm that was spending about $10,000 a month with Google and we had a dedicated rep we could call any time with our problems. This was years ago though so things may have changed.

Biggest benefit we got out of it was early access to Gmail, which was a pretty cool perk at the time.

You must have been one of the lucky ones. We too managed an account (several years back) with AdWords spending nearly twice that and never got any sort of dedicated rep.

A certain gmail Filter suddenly stopped working on February 25, 2013. I only noticed a month later, after missing several important emails. The issue with Filter on this particular string is confirmed with one other user, not just my accounts.

If you happen to have followed the tip in this thread, you better check your gmail aliases!


Really ridiculous. Makes we afraid, we host our company email service with Google. What if that just goes away and they dont even care?

Were you able to get in touch with somebody at Google? If not, Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz has a tip: search for them in Google+. Since Google is making a huge push for it, and since many of Google's employees' bonuses depend on the success of it, a lot of Google employees are on it. Enter your search term, then change to "People and pages" and voila. Good luck.

IMHO, Google should make support liaisons (more) available. They have people who work closely with developers and then thousands of developers do the work for free and just interface with liaisons. Support should be this way, too. Give us easy access to some liaisons and provide a solid system for helpful volunteers to support the family of products.

I just recently completed a survey with Google about my premier apps account. They mentioned my dedicated account rep...I had to clean my keyboard so much Pepsi came out of my nose.

Google needs to better support its paid services. If its free, support could be charged per case. But for the love of everything PLEASE let us at least talk to someone.

I've managed to find a fax machine in the Mountain View offices that someone might be checking? Any use?

Google apparently doesn't want (to help) me to pay for a renewal of Custom Site Search. The payment status is "Pending" and our account has been downgraded. Have I missed the news about the death of that service coming?

When it comes to mailing lists, there's only Google and Yahoo. The support is extinct at both places but Yahoo has on and off development going with their Yahoogroups and I find it better than Googlegroups.

I work at Campus in London, which is owned by Google so there are quite a few Google folks around. I'll see what I can do.

@fabpot How can I contact you? I'm @blowski on Twitter.

Hi Fabpot,

Your Group should now be restored and accessible. Please let me know at tba [at] google.com is it's not the case.

Thanks, Tzachi

You should just open up a google apps account, I wanna say it's like 50/user/year.

They answer the phone in 5 minutes.

Use a paid alternative. Money talks.

Hi Fabpot,

I am with Google and will check what's going on / report back our resolution. Sorry for this becoming an issue.


It seems to be up right now. Did someone at Google reach out to you?

Maybe Google thinks that a PHP framework is kind of a threat somehow. You know, PHP.

I thoughts so , or maybe google dont like anything French ( i'm kidding of course ,they bought sparrow ,didnt they ? ) , but strangely Haxe has been trying to participate the google summer of code for years but was rejected everytime.

I dont think it is a bot problem , there are a lot of unofficial symfony groups on ggroups.

My 2 cents :

- redirect people to stackoverflow in the mean time.

- build your own Q&A. I know it's a bit of work , but why not build an open-source symfony Q&A project ? i'm sure you could get support from any PAAS provider for free to host the app. Make it accessible through RSS so people can suscribe it.

Dedicated Stackoverflow Software based Q&A would be a option. Isn't there some place to vote for new Sites? When they are used regularly they become part of Stackoverflow network?

There has actually been a pretty active proposal on area51.stackexchange.com for a dedicated Zend Framework stackexchange site but it got rejected (and deleted it seems) in favor of just using stackoverflow and tagging the questions zend-framework.

My guess is that symfony will get the same treatment


true , good idea , basically a dedicated stackoverflow 'sub' site ? you'd need to submit the idea to the SO team then it would need "backers" who would vote for the project , but it might be a great idea , indeed.

There is a Symfony2 proposal on Area51. But I agree with the discussion at http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/36634/symfony-2 - StackOverflow itself is perfectly adequate, and having two separate subsites would be unnecessarily confusing.

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