When the cloud bursts

Posted: October 2, 2008 in internet, Mac, Technology

Over the past year I have become a big fan of cloud computing — or more specifically Google’s cloud — as it is seemingly provided easy access from anywhere and from any computer to my mail contacts calendar and other information. As with anything there is always a risk — especially when something is free like Google — but my recent experiences with Google calendar have me wondering whether my faith in “the cloud” is misplaced.

This is now my third day without access to Google calendar — I can’t create anything,  delete anything or sync  it with my Blackberry.  Now, if you use any technology you accept that from time to time things will go wrong. What irks me is that Google seems completely indifferent to user problems. There is absolutely nowhere on their so-called help pages  where I can call or e-mail someone directly about my issue. I have to take my chances on the help forums and hope that someone can come up with a fix.(By the way if you’re a Google user and have seen a similar message to the one shown below, let me know.)

In the meantime it means my Google calendar — on which my personal and business life has come to depend — is completely useless.   Naturally this has me thinking whether cloud  computing is worth the risk. If I can’t trust Google with my calendar should I be trusting my mail,  documents and other information with them? Maybe I’m expecting too much from a free — albeit profitable — service but  I am particularly pissed  because Google seemed to offer a real solution  to malfunctioning desktop software. (Don’t even get me started on iCal! Apple’s customer support leaves a lot to be desired — and they have had thousands of my dollars!)

Fortunately I have my information backed up  so nothing is lost but it’s proving very inconvenient  to say the least.  Up to now I have been a big advocate of Google’s services.  However any recommendations I give in the future will be preceded by a very pronounced “BUT….”

Here endeth today’s rant ….

FOOTNOTE: As of this morning (Oct 3), Google Calendar magically started working again after three days (maybe someone there reads Breezeblog!). It would have been nice to have some notification of what was obviously an issue at Google HQ and I still stand by my post that their customer service leaves a lot to be desired.

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