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Note that this wouldn't have helped him in this case. The .gdoc files are only "links" to the online version, which he deleted from the online interface, while clearing the trash.

Backuping them over Dropbox/Box/Skydrive/* would have been useless, as he still has those .gdoc files anyway. To actually get a backup, he would have saved the files as .doc/.pdf/any other classic format from Google Docs.

I'm not saying that backups are useless, mind you - Only that they wouldn't have helped in this specific case.

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