Why no company that values their data should EVER “Go Google”
I’ve been working with Google Apps for your Domain for years. Most recently, I set up my current company, to use Google Apps- We’ve been running flawlessly for 6 months, paying them $50/user to avoid handling it ourselves.
The problem is, Google is entirely useless whenever there finally IS a flaw.
Incident #1- Last week, we had a file in Google Docs become “Unavailable”.
We have quite a few documents in Google Docs that our Sales team uses to help coordinate. On Friday, one of these files became unopenable.
No users were able to open the file- They couldn’t open it inline, email it, save it, or access it in any way.
Using the “Recovery” option in the app helpfully gave us the error message “We were not able to find any version of the spreadsheet that could be safely recovered.”
Why Gee, thanks.
We’re not the only ones who have had this problem, either.
We emailed Google’s support, and explained that as paying customers, we’d kindly like access to our file please.
I received a generic message back-
Thank you for your message. I understand that you are experiencing an issue uploading documents. I believe the nature of your issue is that you are attempting to upload some existing documents to your Google Apps accounts, if I’m incorrect I apologise and please clarify by replying to this message. When uploading documents there are a few limitation that you should be aware of, such as: * Each user in your domain has 1 GB of storage for Google Docs. Usage information is shown to users when they upload a document. * Google Apps for Premier users can upload files up to 1 GB. * If a file is converted to a Google Doc then the following limits apply: <Convert documents - up to 500KB per file. <Convert presentations - up to 10MB per file. <Convert spreadsheets - up to 1MB per file. * These are the file types that can be converted to Google Docs: For spreadsheets: .xls, .xlsx, .ods, .csv, .tsv, .txt, .tab For documents: .doc, .docx, .html, plain text (.txt), .rtf For presentations: .ppt, .pps (.pptx and .ppsx is not supported) For drawings: .wmf For OCR: .jpg, .gif, .png, .pdf. For more information on uploading documents, please visit http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=37603 . and also http://docs.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=186466. If after reviewing the information above you are still experiencing the issue please don’t hesitate to reply to me and I will be delighted to assist you and if necessary I’ll consult with our Docs specialist. Sincerely, [Name Withheld]
Why Thanks! That’s… Not helpful at all.
I sent them another email, asking that they kindly help us access the file. I’ll take an emailed version of it as a xls. I’ll take a CSV. I’ll take an online version. Heck, I’d take a screenshot of the file. Nothing.
We got back several emails explaining that they are very sorry, but while they are working on retrieving the file, they can’t promise any dates or times.
It’s now been over 4 days, and still no file.
Luckily, in our case, while the file was very important, we were able to recreate it by using various other internal tools.
For other files, we may not have been so lucky.
We back up all files on all user desktops, but anything that’s created directly at Google is never stored on the local desktops, so doesn’t get backed up by us.
We’ve now started emailing ourselves copies of every file that’s stored at Google and then saving them locally, but it’s an annoying manual process.
The lesson we’ve learned is that storing documents in Google Docs is not safe, and should only be done for truly replaceable/temporary documents.
If you want to store your Holiday Shopping list there, Sure. But you’re nuts to store anything there that your business relies on.
Incident #2- Today, Google broke our Email.
If there’s one team you’d expect to know how to handle email reliably, it’d be the Gmail guys. When we first signed up for Google Apps email, the one concern I had was that Google is nearly impossible to get a hold of when things go wrong.. Today, we’ve seen how true that was.
This morning, we had a technical problem.. The exact details don’t much matter, but it caused email to entirely go down for us. 
The exact technical details of the problem don’t matter much- I’m sure Google can fix this bug, as well as the document bug in Incident #1-
The problem with both was that there was effectively no way to escalate.
We called their technical support, we emailed, we explained that email was absolutely MISSION CRITICAL, and we needed it or we were in danger of losing large deals.
Google continually assures us that they’re working on it, but 5 hours later, There was no change, and no update. Everything was “In process”.
Working with them before, I’ve had them say that for up for 48 hours before the domain was fixed.
Since we couldn’t afford to wait that long, I used DynDNS to setup a mail forward for the domain, redirected the MX records, and have mail arriving again. Google continues not to have any useful answer to fixing things on their side.
I love Google Apps, particularly for email. I’ve run Exchange Servers, I’ve run Zimbra servers, and I know it’s a pain in the butt to back it all up, deal with routing, recovery and ensure it stays reliable. I’m happy to pay Google to do this.
But keeping your company on Google Apps just isn’t safe. When things go wrong, no matter how critical it is to you, Google just doesn’t care.
Your email may be mission critical to you, but to Google, you’re just customer number 10 billion and four that they don’t have much time for.
Sadly, I’d strongly recommend that all companies that care about their email and files move off of Google Apps immediately.
 I wanted to transition a ‘domain alias’, to become a ‘secondary domain’.. What that means is that we have a second domain that currently matches up every email address, 1:1, with our primary domain- User@domain1.com and User@domain2.com go to the same backend mailbox.
This has worked fine for us for the last few months, but when we tried to remove domain2.com as a domain alias, and re-add it as a secondary domain, google crashed.
After this happened, we were unable to re-instate the domain alias, unable to remove it..
We couldn’t add it as a secondary domain, we couldn’t do anything with it.
The domain still showed up as if it were active as a domain alias in Google’s control panel, but mail delivery for that domain started failing.
Every message to that domain was generating a bounce.
Postfix- After posting, Google was able to help my company resolve both issues. Total time was 5 days for the corrupted file, and 14 hours for email outage.