Last night my wife's Gmail account was deactivated by Google with no warning nor explanation. She was simply locked out of her account. When she clicked on the link for more information it said her account was locked due to a Terms Of Service violation and that she should review them. If, after reviewing them, she felt that her account shouldn't have been locked she could fill out a form to contact Google about it.
After some searching around she discovered that this form was most likely a placebo that would be ignored by all of Google's 40,000+ employees. She filled it out anyway as it was her only recourse.
This got me thinking. I live in the cloud and I love it. I use Gmail as my primary email address basically because it solved 2 problems for me. 1. I like to access my email from anywhere and any machine, and 2. it meant I didn't have to figure out what to put for my @devospice.com account. (Should I make it email@example.com? firstname.lastname@example.org? email@example.com just sounds redundant. What should I use?) So I went with Google. I have my own back-end accounting software that I use for my business which I wrote myself. That lives online in a password protected directory on my web site. And I use Google docs for damn near everything now. Most of my email updates are first authored in a Google doc. All of the Cirque du So What sketches are stored in Google docs. My running count of FuMP subscribers is a Google spreadsheet. Nothing here is absolutely critical but it would suck if I lost access to it because someone somewhere didn't like what I was doing.
Jen's issue made me realize that I'm putting a little too much faith in one company, especially one that has notoriously poor customer service. So I'm going to download all the Google docs that I need and store them on my computer at home which gets backed up every night to the cloud. So then I'll have local and off-site copies of those files. And I may finally have to decide on an @devospice.com account to start using in case Google decides they don't like one of my emails. The good news is that Jen regained access to her Gmail account this morning, again without explanation.