Posted on June 14, 2008 Comments (7)
I really liked Gmail. Today Google has blocked me from accessing my email. I do nothing that remotely could be considered suspicious behavior. Yet without any preliminary warnings Gmail just blocked my access to email and provides only the following.
While this might not be evil it is extremely bad service. Email users need to trust providers to provide reliable service. To act with integrity, etc.. When instead they take unilateral, immediate action with no significant response one can only draw the conclusion that they are dealing with another Verizon or Comcast or the long litany of companies that cannot be trusted to treat you well or even remotely fairly.
They do provide a form to fill out, which I have done. They responded with the following: “Thanks for your report. We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience. For your security, we may temporarily disable access to your account if our system detects abnormal usage. It will take between one minute and 24 hours for you to regain access, depending on the behavior our system detected.”
Not really clear is it? I still have no access. Google’s “mission”: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” How about making clear the information that Google itself says it has detected, this “abnormal usage.” Have they even made that information “accessible and useful.” No they have not. Google choosing to break Gmail access without notice and without explanation and even after questioning still providing no real explanation seems like a very serious threat to users of Gmail. Google seems to believe that breaking access to Gmail is not something they need to even know why they are doing it. I would say a policy that makes Gmail unreliable for users threatens to send users to a provider that does not chose to act in such a way. This seems like a very bad policy on Google’s part.
This is so frustrating, I actually liked gmail. But I guess I will have to look for a reliable provider unless Google can actually provide an explanation of how they will change to actually provide reliable email services.
My account is back now. Maybe it was down for an hour. Which, frankly, if it had been a technical glitch I would have been fine with. That it was a policy decision to break access without notice or explanation I find extremely worrying, however. How am I suppose to trust that they will not do so at any point in the future. If they send me some explanation of this choice to disable my account temporarily, I will update this post.