The Risks Of Using Google (Or Any Single Service Provider) For Everything

Black HoleIf your account is canceled, everything disappears.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

New York artist Dylan Marcheschi uses Google services for just about everything — e-mail, blogging, photos, calendar entries, and even reading news stories.So when Google mysteriously terminated his account on July 15, he was put in a tough spot.

As Infoworld reports, it turns out that a robot detected an image that it thought was child pornography on his Picasa Web account, so it terminated his account.

But Marcheschi wasn’t able to reach a real human until he wrote a long nastygram on TwitLonger and promoted it through his Twitter account, @ThomasHollywood. 

Once he actually talked to a real Google employee, the company turned his account back on — minus the supposedly offensive image.

All’s well that ends well, right?

Except the story shows how risky it is trusting your online life with one provider.

It’s one thing if Facebook suspends your account — at least you’ll still be able to send email and use your mobile phone.

But Google is almost unique because it offers so many services under the umbrella of a single account. If you use Android and your account is suspended, you can lose all the contacts and stored data on your phone as well.

With the addition of Google+, rules for profiles have gotten more confusing — the company has suspended some celebrity profiles that it thought were fake, and has also cut some business profiles from the service.

The one bright spot in all this is that Google has a service called Takeout that makes it easy for you to take your data out of its services and create a backup — or switch to another provider completely. That’s more than Microsoft, Yahoo, and other big providers offer.

The lesson: use it before you need it. Or better yet, spread your online life among multiple providers.

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