So here's an update on the latest mess up by Google. Apparently, Google has accidentally reset the GMail accounts of an estimated number of 150,000 customers. Though the percentage of user's who's accounts have been affected are less that 0.08%, nevertheless, the situation seems scary enough.
A loss of years of mail on a GMail account is a scary prospect. We often have loads of files, critical data and important conversations on GMail, and to log in and not be able to see any of these would be enough to wreck someone.
But we don't pay Google for the service, you may say. So why is it Google's responsibility to ensure the safety of our mail? The answer is that by participating in GMail, we are entering Google's business model and it is through our participation that Google earns its revenues. So it is indeed Google's responsibility to ensure that our data remains safe, so that we remain within their business model.
So how hard have the users of GMail been affected? Though I was lucky to not be affected, it seems that the accounts of users have been completely reset, and all that they can see in their inbox are the welcome messages from Google. Google is providing updates on the issue here.
Given our increasing dependence on the cloud, it was inevitable that something of this nature should happen. It is high time that we stop falling in for such gimmicks and go back to the good old-fashioned method of backups on hard-drives and DVDs. However, as a previous post points out, even DVDs are not safe media for backup in case you use Windows.
So how do you back up your GMail account? Use Mozilla Thunderbird or any other email client and make periodic backups of your e-mail using POP. Do not use IMAP. The mails on your computer may be deleted in case of a failure like this one. Or you may use GetMail in case you are on a *NIX system.
So, keep in mind the lesson to be learnt, you can never trust even the best software company out there. Sometimes the good old-fashioned backups and copies help. Now, where did I place those DVD-Rs?
Look out for some more Google-bashing in the days to come.