I have had a Gmail account since Gmail opened itâ€™s second round of invites years ago. Users had five invites and because I was only two degrees separated from someone at Blogger, I got one. It was like gold and it was amazing. Within days I stopped using Outlook and started to rely on Gmail for all of my email. The launch of Google Calendar meant that I could move my life to the cloud and it worked perfectly for me for years. When I was at the Salvation Army Community Services, we used Google Apps to power email which meant that I never did need Outlook or anything there either. With Google Calendar integration I could have my life at a glimpse. While I was always frustrated that Google Contacts didnâ€™t sync up Google apps and my personal address book, it worked well enough that I didnâ€™t complain.
About six months ago a friend emailed from a major U.S. company. I had sent him an unimportant email about a year earlier and he never got it until that day. He blamed his company email system and I never thought about it. During this time I would send my column to two different email addresses at The StarPhoenix and every once in a while I would get an email close to my deadline and it would be the editor asking for my column. It kind of freaked me out but again I would think it was The StarPhoenixâ€™s email system and I would send it again and it would be good. I was using Googleâ€™s email system after all. Now my editor just emails me back as soon as he gets it. I still get nervous when I donâ€™t get an immediate reply but he is human and could actually be doing other things but even two weeks ago I was surprised how long it took him to reply and I wondered if the column got there or if he was busy. It isnâ€™t just him, during that time I would email someone once in a while at The StarPhoenix and wouldnâ€™t get a reply. Some email gets replied to, some doesnâ€™t and I figured it didnâ€™t get replied to.
Then my email got hacked and it was a horrifying experience. During that time I lost some email but blamed it on that. I have a new password (my old one was only six letters and one digit long) and then brought in double authentication but I was still wondering why I didnâ€™t get replies at times. The last couple of weeks since I have had my new phone, it has been happening more and more and I was blaming the phone. Like many of you, I have 3G connection issues in parts of Saskatoon and was wondering if that was the problem. Over the last couple of days, everyone has been pissed off at me for missing emails and I realized I was also getting them out of sync. I also fired off some important email and people are telling me they never got them. That scared me because both were really tech competent people on reliable mail servers and the email was sent by my laptop via the Gmail interface. No email client, no phone, just me and the computer sending to two different reliable email services. I contacted Google and havenâ€™t heard a thing back. I was searching my email tonight looking for emails that I knew I had not deleted and there was a massive hole from 2008 in it. I know was recently hacked but those emails were restored. No sign of it at all today.
I remember the rants that Tech Crunch used to have when Google Voice was offline and I now understand what they were so angry about. Google isnâ€™t just providing a service, they are providing a service I rely on dearly. When the internet went down on my block, I can work around that, my primary email acct not working is horrific. My friend Nathan had a horrible experience with Twitter. It was mindboggling how stupid it was over a glitch that was completely their fault. They finally just stopped talking to him about their problem and he was locked out of his account. All of this contacts and followers were gone and there isnâ€™t much you can do about it.
Whatâ€™s even more bizarre is that when you read the Google help forums, I am not alone. Some are user error but most are just disappearing emails. The thing is that the reason I went to Gmail in the first place was because of Googleâ€™s reliability. What I found out is that it is company that really offers no customer service at all. They talk all of the time about the small % of users affected. Thatâ€™s great that it is .61% until you are one of the quarter of a million users that are affected and then it is no fun at all.
The other hard part is that who do you contact at Google? You canâ€™t call them or write a support ticket. You can leave a note in the forum. Back in the days when Blogger was small and buggy, you knew you could email Ev or Biz and get a response. Even today with Dreamhost, I can get a support ticket answered within minutes but I canâ€™t with Google.
I use Koodo as my cell phone provider. It is horrible to use to send texts. I just was sending texts back and forth with Seabass (if you know who I am talking about, you will get it) and I had about 10 â€œfail to sendâ€ texts but I know that my texts are not getting through and I know that he isnâ€™t getting them. Yet when I textâ€™d a guy Iâ€™ll just refer to as Man-Bag yesterday, he said he never got it which is an entire other frustration. Is it Koodo or Sasktel or the fact he may not understand his new iPhone. Itâ€™s frustrating and now I am mad at Google, SaskTel, Man-Bag, and Koodo. Iâ€™ll quit while I am behind.
Iâ€™d tell you to email me with your suggestions but I wonâ€™t get it.