When Google Owns You

Nick Saber Nick Saber isn’t happy now. Monday afternoon, after lunch, Nick came back from lunch to find out that he couldn’t get into his Gmail account. Further, he couldn’t get into anything that Google made (beside search) where his account credentials once worked. When attempting to log in, Nick got a single line message:

Sorry, your account has been disabled. [?]

That’s it.

Nick sent a message or three to Google for support. He got back this:

Thank you for your report. We’ve completed our investigation. Because our
investigation was inconclusive, we are unable to return your account at
this time. At Google we take the privacy and security of our users very
seriously. For this reason, we’re unable to reveal any further information
about this account.

And that’s it.

Suddenly, Nick can’t access his Gmail account, can’t open Google Talk (our office IM app), can’t open Picasa where his family pictures are, can’t use his Google Docs, and oh by the way, he paid for additional storage. So, this is a paying customer with no access to the Google empire.

If he was doing something wrong/illegal/invalid, they might’ve said so (not thinking that he was). If he had been hacked, wouldn’t that be something vaguely apparent? I dunno, but it seems like that’d be the way.

So, what happens now? What does Nick do? He’s sent a bunch of emails. But now what? Locked out of ALL of Google’s apps, the apps that I praise daily, the apps where Julien Smith and I are writing a book. Should we be doing that? I didn’t see a problem until this. What if we’re the next Nick?

What’s your take? And what do you think of hands off customer service in this case?

**UPDATE: Nick got back in after quite a lot of work.
**UPDATE: Jay explains in the comments how this is supposed to work. Mind you, I’ve used Google for years as a non-paying customer, so Jay’s advice wouldn’t help. Right?

**UPDATE: Google Gets Back to Nick. We’ll be talking about some ideas based on this in the next newsletter.

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