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Author Topic: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts  (Read 5749 times)

wraith808

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Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« on: February 27, 2011, 10:21:40 PM »
http://www.engadget....of-correspondence-v/

Some gmail users lost all of their data (the supposed percentage affected is .08%, or approximately 150k users by estimates of gmail's user base.  Many people on the conversation at engadget talk about the fact that a free service lost e-mail... what else are you supposed to expect.  But as a person that took a long time to move to gmail (and for the longest time I used a re-direct at my own domain to route e-mails to gmail and my own domain to be downloaded), one of the reasons I moved to actually using my gmail e-mail address was because of exactly those kinds of implied assurances in advertisements, and a level of comfort that was my own fault.

After years of reconditioning myself to use my gmail email addresses, I now find myself at a crossroads- should I move back to my own e-mail address and use gmail merely a convenience?

But the real question is, even if they aren't contractually obligated to see to the security of e-mails of their users, are they not trying to make users comfortable with their service so that there will be that assumption that google is a safe place to keep your e-mails rather than the old fashioned way of using mail servers?  And what about google apps for domains?  What kind of assurances do they give you with those?  Especially since you're essentially in the same boat?  My company is moving to google apps for domains- I'm pretty sure that as a pretty big player in their market, this switch wouldn't have been made if there weren't some assurances.

Thoughts?

4wd

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2011, 11:03:58 PM »
I have 7 GMail accounts, I only use GMail accounts, I have no other email accounts.

If any or all of them got wiped of emails it's not a problem because any of the accounts I use for important stuff are POP3 accessed and downloaded to my local machine and then backed up.

Non-important accounts are IMAP and as such I don't really care if all the emails in them are lost.

Honestly, if your emails are that important to you, then it doesn't matter who is providing your email service - you should be providing a backup for them.

If you're [dumb|naive|uninformed|silly|blase|etc] enough to leave anything that's important to you solely in the hands of another then ultimately you are responsible for what happens to it, not them.

PS. Considering the amount of crap one of my friends collects in his account, wiping it would be the best thing.   :P
« Last Edit: February 27, 2011, 11:05:49 PM by 4wd »

Armando

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2011, 11:20:03 PM »
"What else are you supposed to expect."

... Isn't this the perfect warning : don't trust "the cloud". Well, not too much. Backup your data yourself, have duplicates on site and elsewhere.

The best cheap and easy e-mail solution I found (a long time ago) was to have my own domain and forward everything to various e-mail services... and then download stuff to Outlook. So I'm not tied to any specific company and I can own all my correspondence. The only risk I'm taking is to loose my domain... Very unlikely.

I'm not familiar with the google apps for domains contracts, so I can't comment...

Josh

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2011, 03:26:07 AM »
Is this why gmail has never left the "beta" state?

nudone

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2011, 03:30:42 AM »
Is this why gmail has never left the "beta" state?
I think it has now. But they provide a gadget in their Labs to put the "beta" back near the logo.

Funny that, maybe Google will feel the need to put it back themselves now.

(Sounds like I should start making a backup. I've been super lazy about it. Anyone got a good suggestion on how to do it - quick and easily.)

app103

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2011, 03:41:06 AM »
Anyone got a good suggestion on how to do it - quick and easily.

I have been using GMail Backup for quite awhile. Just fill out the info in it and set the location of the folder where you want it to store the backups. It will download everything as .eml files, which can be opened in most popular desktop email apps.

Right now the site is unreachable, spits back a page full of errors. I suppose their server is being hit pretty hard with all the publicity and worry. Might have to give it a few days till you can reach the site and download the app.

Josh

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wraith808

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2011, 06:29:51 AM »
"What else are you supposed to expect."

... Isn't this the perfect warning : don't trust "the cloud". Well, not too much. Backup your data yourself, have duplicates on site and elsewhere.

The best cheap and easy e-mail solution I found (a long time ago) was to have my own domain and forward everything to various e-mail services... and then download stuff to Outlook. So I'm not tied to any specific company and I can own all my correspondence. The only risk I'm taking is to loose my domain... Very unlikely.

I'm not familiar with the google apps for domains contracts, so I can't comment...

Actually, what are you doing with your backups?  Most of us take risks/have points of failure that we don't even realize.  And before you say that it's unlikely, I've had the perfect storm before.  RAID1 - both drives failed.  The latest backups were corrupted, and I didn't know (code red on my server).  I had to go back so far in my backups, that they were barely useful.

And are your servers truly more reliable than google's, when you look at it?  Or is it a false sense of security?  Not saying that a backup is not better than none... just that it's good to assess things after a while- that's the way that my perfect storm snuck up on me.

Anyone got a good suggestion on how to do it - quick and easily.

I have been using GMail Backup for quite awhile. Just fill out the info in it and set the location of the folder where you want it to store the backups. It will download everything as .eml files, which can be opened in most popular desktop email apps.

Right now the site is unreachable, spits back a page full of errors. I suppose their server is being hit pretty hard with all the publicity and worry. Might have to give it a few days till you can reach the site and download the app.

I've had a copy for a while, and tried to use it, but I kept getting errors, so I haven't really looked into why or anything else.  Have you ever received multiple errors and gotten an empty archive?  Maybe if I downloaded the newest version...  I have to find my license again...

Paul Keith

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2011, 07:01:34 AM »
This is nothing new. Check out old articles like these:

http://www.jonasblog...unt-got-deleted.html
http://www.jonasblog...d-gmail-account.html

The simplest way is to really have multiple points of failure. I'm really lazy and ignorant at setting up things like Gmail backups or Outlook/Thunderbird sync so often times I just rely on copy pasting everything or exporting the e-mail as a doc. The most important thing I try to have is the address book. Messages I feel aren't that important. You can always ask your acquaintance to resend you most of those e-mails.

As far as trusting the cloud, Google is not among the most reliable. They are just the most used. I'm not saying I know of a better alternative but after what Google did to Google Notebook, you have to understand their policy will always be "treat us like a hot girlfriend dating your ugly you for the kicks".

If you're in, you're in. Google knows Gmail is one of the most convenient and most used services out there. Google also knows that if they screw something up, there's barely any other competition out there that offers nearly the same service and they know tons of users would go to the end of the world to find ways to recover their accounts. It sort of holds true for all software but Google isn't in a position to need to improve their services unless there's a major risk to their business.

nudone

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2011, 07:32:23 AM »
(thanks, app, josh. i'll use that.)

Armando

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2011, 11:25:46 AM »
Actually, what are you doing with your backups?  Most of us take risks/have points of failure that we don't even realize.  And before you say that it's unlikely, I've had the perfect storm before.  RAID1 - both drives failed.  The latest backups were corrupted, and I didn't know (code red on my server).  I had to go back so far in my backups, that they were barely useful.

And are your servers truly more reliable than google's, when you look at it?  Or is it a false sense of security?  Not saying that a backup is not better than none... just that it's good to assess things after a while- that's the way that my perfect storm snuck up on me.

First, you have more experience than I do, wraith808. That's for sure. My point is just that it's better to have (Multiple) backups, even if Google's servers are theoretically much more reliable than any custom solution. (I can't empirically verify Google's safety for sure... However, I can verify (slightly "anecdoticaly")  that since 1988, none of my multiple backups failed all at once. )

Also, apart from pure hardware and software reliability, there's the people and the decisions they make. If I value my data, I'm more likely to value it more than Google is ever going to.

Then, when I travel, I don't always have internet connection so depending on Google's service alone is completely out of the question.

zridling

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2011, 11:41:34 AM »
Failures and security breaks are the cloud's 800-lb. gorilla if you ask me, on top of privacy issues. I've used Gmail within a few months of its rollout (2004?) and have only been burned once: Google said that Chinese hackers took over my account and used it to spam folks. Great. Problem was, until they could re-secure it, I was locked out of my account for almost two weeks. Completely unacceptable. And it wasn't the emails that were important, it was the various backup files I had saved throughout my account -- mail, docs, calendar. No problems since, but like an amputation, I'd rather not have first-hand experience of it!

wraith808

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2011, 12:27:46 PM »
Also, apart from pure hardware and software reliability, there's the people and the decisions they make. If I value my data, I'm more likely to value it more than Google is ever going to.

This is very true.  And from the experience standpoint, my only point over the whole thing was directed more at me than anyone else.  These are things that you tend to turn a blind eye to/get way too comfortable with than is truly warranted.  And it really takes a critical eye to look at your own setup and see all of the points of failure.

I guess that's the reason that security consultants make a whole lot more money than I do.

Failures and security breaks are the cloud's 800-lb. gorilla if you ask me, on top of privacy issues.

I'd totally agree.  On the one hand, the providers of cloud services want you to trust them.  On the other hand, they don't want to accept liability.  Those two incompatible approaches have never been truly tested IMO.  I have close to 50GB of my data backed up on Amazon's S3 services, in addition to being on a few different drives in different physical locations.  Amazon touts the rock solid bullet proof nature of their S3 services- but if something happened, how much liability would they actually take, even though I'm paying for the service?  They talk about credits for data being unavailable, and the small likelihood of your data being lost- but what if it does happen?  In all of their guarantees, they make no statement of liability in case of data loss.  What does that mean to my data?

Paul Keith

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2011, 01:47:24 PM »
Quote
Failures and security breaks are the cloud's 800-lb. gorilla if you ask me, on top of privacy issues.

I disagree. Profitability remains the cloud's biggest issue. It's the start-up mentality and it works for many things but these issues of lost data can somewhat easily be secured by more legit cloud services with applications that actually keep your data on your PC if the cloud fails.

Even Google understands that the cloud is more of a bridge than a storage container: http://googleenterpr...e-cloud-connect.html

The biggest problem here is that most cloud applications understand they aren't going to have a premium userbase and even if they do, you're never really sure whether it could scale especially when something goes wrong.

Then on the flip side, just because your service has a desktop client, doesn't mean people will flock to it unless you have a strong customer base combined with a strong marketing team combined with something that people are willing to shell money out of combined with loyal customers that are willing to stick to your application even if it breaks down.

It's important to emphasize this because even a desktop OS like Microsoft can break down A LOT and this is a huge company with long years of expertise as far as polishing their operating systems and are used by tons of people in corporations. Every cloud service basically has to contend with this natural eventuality of failure and security breaks and still have customers.

...and seriously privacy? We live in a Facebook age now. People who value privacy will go to lengths to defend themselves against that and certain cloud services will use that as incentive to be extra careful with their data. Ditto for the other casual users in endangering their privacy. They won't really pay for a secure private service, they'll just pay for what they want to pay.

Quote
On the one hand, the providers of cloud services want you to trust them.  On the other hand, they don't want to accept liability.  Those two incompatible approaches have never been truly tested IMO.

Again see Microsoft Windows. These services do accept liability when they can't get away with it but users do let them get away with it by often just demanding their data back.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2011, 01:55:26 PM by Paul Keith »

Renegade

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2011, 07:22:01 PM »
Very timely... I'm actually in the process of moving my email server over to Gmail and getting rid of running my own email server.

I'll still be moving over to Google Apps there anyways. I always maintain local copies, so as long as the basics work, I'll be fine.
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wraith808

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2011, 08:58:06 PM »
Very timely... I'm actually in the process of moving my email server over to Gmail and getting rid of running my own email server.

I'll still be moving over to Google Apps there anyways. I always maintain local copies, so as long as the basics work, I'll be fine.

Local copies of the e-mails via POP access?  What about the documents?  And the calendars?  There's a big focus on e-mail from this incident- but the cloud is much more than e-mail...

timns

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2011, 09:05:57 PM »
Ahhh I *knew* my paranoia about keeping everything local was in fact perfect sanity  :tease:

Renegade

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2011, 03:09:09 AM »
Very timely... I'm actually in the process of moving my email server over to Gmail and getting rid of running my own email server.

I'll still be moving over to Google Apps there anyways. I always maintain local copies, so as long as the basics work, I'll be fine.

Local copies of the e-mails via POP access?  What about the documents?  And the calendars?  There's a big focus on e-mail from this incident- but the cloud is much more than e-mail...

I won't be using any other applications. MS Office can't be replaced by a web application. I might dabble, but not with anything important, for reasons seen above. :)
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

wraith808

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2011, 09:54:15 AM »
A good article about the happy medium between "don't trust the cloud", and CYA...

http://gigaom.com/co...hen-the-cloud-fails/

wraith808

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2011, 01:25:43 PM »
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 01:29:01 PM by wraith808 »

J-Mac

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2011, 10:33:11 PM »
For my Gmail backup system I created a Google Group of my very own with no members other than myself. Then I configured Gmail to auto-Forward all messages to that Group. Cheap and easy.  8)

Also I use MailStore Home to archive all my email. It can grab your IMAP messages from the server and store them. And MailStore's search feature is extremely fast and accurate. Nice. I was using Eric Fookes Software's MailBag Assistant up until Windows 7 but then I had to drop it. Wonderfully useful application but he wants way too much for his latest version in which the only new feature is that he changed out the Regex search engine. Otherwise it looks, smells, and acts exactly the same as the old one. Except of course this one claims to be able to run on Windows 7 now...  MailStore is a much better offering IMO - and it is free!

And then there is Thunderbird, though that has lost and/or corrupted my mail more than once so I wouldn’t consider that reliable.

All that and I only use Gmail for what I consider to be my "unimportant"e mail. Nothing that I would have concerns about anyone reading.   :D

Thanks!

Jim

wraith808

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2011, 09:44:10 AM »
A free solution to backing up not only gmail, but a lot of other mail options.

http://www.mailstore.../mailstore-home.aspx

(from http://gigaom.com/co...up-my-gmail-account/)

Armando

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Re: Gmail accidentally resets some accounts
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2011, 01:33:11 PM »
Thanks. Will check that out...

Some stuff can be done manually :

http://manas.tungare...gle-calendar-reader/

A little script could be written to automate the process, I guess.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 01:35:38 PM by Armando »