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Heavily relying on Google product? ✓

Hitting a dead-end with Google's customer service? ✓

Have an existing audience you can leverage to get some random Google employee's attention? ✓

Reach front page of Hacker News? ✓

Good news! You should have your problem fixed in 2-5 business days. The rest of us suckers relying on google services get to stare at our inboxes helplessly, waiting for a response to our support ticket (which will never come). I feel like it's almost a right of passage these days to rely heavily on a Google service, only to have something go wrong and be left out in the cold.




I've been backing up my Gmail with getmail [0], as I'm afraid that a day will come when I'll be locked out of my gmail account and will have no way to restore it. My long term solution is to migrate completely off of gmail, but for now this does the trick pretty nicely.

[0] https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Backup_Gmail_with_getma...


Not that you're complaining of bad service from Google. But anyone's long term solution should be to treat important things in life as important. In case of gmail, paying $60 a year ($50 for email account and $10 for domain) gets you a permanent address (so if you were to migrate, at least your email address stays the same), an SLA that gives you two weeks to move house should Google decide it doesn't like you (in contrast to immediate termination of gmail free accounts) and phone support from Google. The poorest of us can afford that—no excuses.


As a long time Gmail user heavily invested in it (with over 60GB of email), I'm waiting patiently for mailpile.is to get rolled out.


Take my advice - throw away every email older than 2 years. Not only will you never need them, but they're what the black hats will hang you by should they get the urge. You will feel a huge sense of relief - a weight lifted from your soul as you relinquish the crushing burden of carting about all those dead emails.

(Unless, of course, you work in an industry where longer retention times are mandated.)


Im not a lawyer so there may be subtle details I don't understand, but broadly in England and Wales, you can be sued within either 6 years or 12 years from the date of a breach of contract depending on type of contract, in Scotland 15 years. I don't know about the US or rest of EU, but think carefully about deleting all your old emails. You might have something in there which would be very useful to defend yourself if this ever happened. You would regret this if you had built the next Facebook and some old acquaintance decided to stake a claim based on some gmail conversation from 10 years ago. Better to archive to a redundant backup system I would say.


In the UK, business documents must be retained for six years.


The MailPile page (https://www.mailpile.is/) mentions GMVault (http://gmvault.org/) as their method for backing up Gmail. I haven't heard of GMVault (or MailPile) until just now. Both look promising. I'm glad there is a push in this direction.


I've been using GMVault for the past month and I have really enjoyed it. I wrote a cron job to periodically pull down my latest emails and back them up (encrypted).


Does GMVault store your mail on your machine in a text-readable (I include XML in this) format? Because if it's a binary blob, it's not as useful as it could be.


All emails are stored individually as EML files which is just text. It can also export all your emails into the standard maildir or mbox format so you can easily import them elsewhere.


I am ... less than pleased with Google as a company and its policies of late (I came home a couple of weekends back to find the top 3 HN slots addressing issues with Google and the YT/Google+ integration, two of which were either links to or based on my posts there).

That said: I've found Google personnel highly responsive (though not always immediately so) to issues I've raised. Most recently with the Data Liberation Front's lead emailing me directly (after finding he couldn't reply to my G+ posts because I'd disabled interactions there) while on sabbatical to find out what's up.

Not to say that Google don't have their warts and have been highly insensitive to human-factors issues of late. But even some pretty testy and frustrated folk have found that there are contacts from deep within the machine.

Though JOOTSing -- jumping out of the (nominal support/ticket) system -- does seem to be rather too frequently required.


Yeah, they're responsive after negative stories draw peoples' attention. So if you can hit the top of HN or you're Jeff Jarvis (see dell hell) you'll get ok customer service. If not, google wants you to gfad.


Jeff's Verizon stories have also been classics.

I won't say I haven't been a thorn in Google's side (large or small I'm not entirely sure). But I've managed to develop some level of a relationship with some folks on the inside. I'm largely in the process of extricating myself from their services, but I had seen multiple positive responses.

I can only imagine it's similarly frustrating on the inside. Remember: they're trying to address the needs of hundreds of millions (or more) users with a pretty finite staff. It's the dual-lever challenge of automated systems: you can provide for the world with a staff of 40, but you're stuck with providing for the world with a staff of 40. Unless you come up with ways of 1) automating support 2) self-support and 3) very effective triage you're going to have horror stories.


they're trying to address the needs of hundreds of millions (or more) users with a pretty finite staff.

A problem of their own devising. I don't have any sympathy for them, they've intentionally built up their image of a company of geniuses who hire the best of the best, and they have made it a primary corporate goal to acquire those hundreds of millions of users.

I speculate that the reason they have effectively zero customer support is that to employ and train that number of people would require them to appear obviously as a clone of Walmart, GE, or AT&T (et al), which is necessary to become in order to deal with that kind of headcount.


Customer service is definitely non trivial, and it's actually something that needs to be part of company's culture and be driven from top management. I heard that at Amazon, Jeff Bezos asked all managers from from director level's up to do customer support one day a year in a call center (including Jeff himself). I can't imagine Larry or Sergei would pay any attention to that kind of things, and just ask why can't we automate that self-help page :)


Craig Newmark they ain't.


A problem of their own devising. I don't have any sympathy for them

I actually made the comment more in the spirit of a "hey, you HN types looking at starting your own worldwide Web based service / company, heads-up, this is a problem you'll face."

That said: I've actually pretty much given your "they're Google, they're smart, they can figure this out" response when I've have noted weaknesses in Google's response / user support/service.

Though there are some companies / organizations which have gone a long way to building very-low-overhead organizations. Wikipedia and Craigslist both come to mind (and yes, they've had their problems).

Another story emerged out of the ACA/Obamacare rollout. One news item I heard concerning it noted that when Social Security rolled out, there were staffed offices located in cities and towns throughout the US where people could go for support. That's something which the online/automated world has largely done away with.

Though the thought occurs to me: what would the required infrastructure (and cost of development) be for producing a paper-record based application process for ACA? Would it not perhaps be simpler than the online version?


When Social Security rolled out, there were staffed offices located in cities and towns throughout the US where people could go for support.

When Social Security rolled out, there wasn't any other choice. (Well, paper mail.)


Response-by-mail, yes, though the latency is a drag.

Phone support might have been an option. Even if household phones were rare, most people could get to a location which had a phone. However 1-800 (toll-free) lines didn't exist yet (though you could reverse charges with operator assistance). Hrm ... I'd heard a tale that 800 toll-free service began as the result of a request from President Ford for some way for the White House to accept calls from citizens, though Wikipedia's history of toll-free service doesn't make any mention, might just be a red herring.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toll-free_telephone_number#Hist...

More to the point: the idea of individually staffing offices is now pretty much a non-starter. Though I wonder what the real economics are compared with creating a national-scale Web infrastructure.


Though the thought occurs to me: what would the required infrastructure (and cost of development) be for producing a paper-record based application process for ACA? Would it not perhaps be simpler than the online version?

I'd say that the base instance of something like this would be expanding Medicare instead of inventing ACA, but that seems to have been politically untenable. There are certainly problems there, as well as in the VA system, but the point remains...


Their response is directly proportional to the customer's Klout score.


I suspect in my case (I don't do FB or Twitter, both of which Klout depends on heavily) it had more to do with my being persistent in calling out issues, and working constructively to address them. Took a while to pound that message through but it eventually happened.


I thought google had support ... that's what the movie "The intership" lead me to believe.


I don't think that movie was intended to be factual.... or funny.


Just like your comment.


I know replying to you is childish, but don't you see the irony in your comment?


I have.


I watched it with a group of friends. At the end, the only thing I could say about it was

"Well, that part about Google having customer service was pretty good."


After watching the movie, I realized I wouldn't want to work there if the corporate culture was truly the way it is depicted in the movie.


> right of passage

rite of passage


Or have a man on the inside to file an internal support ticket for you ;)


You probably meant "being left out of the cloud" in your last sentence.




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