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Mom, Google Ate My GMail!

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Update:If you are ready to give up your desktop clients and are considering switching to all-Google all-the-time, as one of us has done, be warned that the future is not simple and fraught with risk. An increasing number of GMail subscribers are complaining that their emails, accounts and archives are simply vanishing.

For nearly 10 days, a strange sort of bug is simply cleaning out the GMail inboxes. An afflicted soul wrote to us this morning, warning about this bug. Just when we were saying GMail is getting better and better. (If you are you one of the victims, please leave a comment and we will try and get to Google people and see what is going on.) On the GMail thread on (what else) Google Threads, a user writes:

Not only we are surprised that these sorts of issues happens to a company like Google but we are pissed off because e-mail is the core of our internet life.

A Gmail Guide responded to complaints on December 22nd, saying that they were looking into it. As of December 28, people were still waiting for the GSanta to show up. Anyway, hate to say this, Google is the new Microsoft. It is pounding start-ups with its traffic might, and is being afflicted by bugs.

Seriously guys, if you are a GMail user, perhaps it is time to download the GMail via POP3 access. Don’t wait, do it now! And Liz, add reliability and 100% uptime to your GMail wishlist.

Update: Google spokeswoman sent us an email explaining the situation:

Regretfully, a small number of our users — around 60 — lost some or all of their email received prior to December 18th. Once we found out about this issue, we worked day and night to confirm that only a few accounts were affected and to do whatever we could to restore as much of the users’ accounts as we could. We’ve also reached out to the people who were affected to apologize and to work with them to restore the email from any personal backup they might have.

We know how important Gmail is to our users – we use it ourselves for our corporate email. We have extensive safeguards in place to protect email stored with Gmail and we are confident that this is a small and isolated incident.

93 Responses to “Mom, Google Ate My GMail!”

  1. Bob Margolis

    I just saw all my Gmail disappear, but luckily I am protected with pop forwarding, so I have copies of everything.

    Now I am starting to worry as to whether this same “bug or virus” could affect Google’s Desktop program? The fact that many of us have trusted Google on our systems, makes me wonder if it is time to toss Google Desktop aside and start looking for a comercial version made by someone else, that will not put my data at risk.

  2. Same as Malc here….logged in fine on Friday and Saturday morning they told me my password was wrong. Waited patiently for 5 days and now they’re asking me for my frequent flyer number!?!?!? I have no access to any email (I dropped my secondary when I got on gmail 2 years ago). I hear everyone’s list of problems but has anyone actually been able to get back on and have access again? Any success stories in the bunch? SO SAD!!!

  3. Cecilia

    I’ve lost all the emails I had on my gmail account from January 2007 until July 2007. Could you please help me on how to solve this problem?



  4. deepak

    Oh!!!!!! Thats a great news….. GMAIL activated my email account after approx.45 days. I have sent them a mail to gmail support team to get this done.


  5. To everyone that’s freaking out over this: GMail is a beta. Beta’s aren’t always stable. If you want stable e-mail, use something that isn’t a beta. Google is in no way responsible for lost data while you’re using a beta. If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. It’s just that simple. You can’t always blame the developers for problems that arise. They manage a lot of e-mail, and have a lot of users. I’d love to see any of you computer illiterates give that a shot.

  6. deepak

    No response from Gmail yet…. I waited for 5 days, they asked me a security question, which I have never heard in my life…… “Enter your frequent flyer number” I dont know what the heck is wrong with these people….Google shares are soaring.. But, they never mind about their users…. Once again, Gmail SUCKS!!!!!

  7. antonio

    thank u Gmail!! i lose all my 2007 e-mails!!! U SUCK (just 60 users?????? no support for users.. and u are GOOGLE patner!!! u are simply ridicolous!!)
    better yahoo with unlimited space!!! sorry me but im too much angry!!


  8. i’m having the exact same problem and this is very recent. my session timed out, i couldn’t login and i KNOW my password, i’m 100% positive it’s correct. it’s even in my firefox form filler exactly the way it’s been entering for months. all i get is a catpcha screen i get “welcome to gmail” in the title bar then captcha, then i try again same thing in a loop. NO ONE is responding to me, there’s no numbers to call, no people answering e-mail just the same automated response i’ve been told a 1000 times.

  9. deepak, Im currently having the same problem username/pw rejected im 100% sure that they are correct. I used the recover password option which said they would send me instructions to my alternative email but as of yet I have received nothing.

    I even tried signing up a second account but had the same problem.

    Has this problem reoccured??????

  10. deepak

    Gmail SUCKS!!!!! One fine day, gmail does not allow me to access the inbox. I knew my password and Iam 100% confident that I have entered the correct one, but it displays “username and password does not match”……… I have using this password for almost one year……. Even the secondary email does not seem to be associated…… I could not get in to my inbox…..This is pathetic###### hate GMAIL!!!!!

  11. Wendy Olson

    I haven’t been able to log into my gmail account in the last 6 days. Gmail sent me the 5 day login today – same thing. Now, the email says they do not show the secondary email address I provided. I could cry! Don’t you just love how there are NO PHONE NUMBERS anywhere on the google website – no one wants to talk to us! I’ve sent 3 emails, but no responses.

  12. jus spent hours trying to configure pop..
    thunderbird says its not them..
    bandwidth provider says its not them either..

    i get multiple downloads of the same msg, with diff attachment sizes… wtf?

    and worse i cleared my whole gmail ac and deleted everything to start a fresh…

    it downloads mesages i already deleted .. wtf again?

    GOOGLE !! DO SOME THING!! Arghhhh u got a repo to save dude.

  13. I, too, am very dismayed at what just happened to me. After spending over an hour writing an important e-mail, I hit send. I was told my session had timed out, and was sent to the log-in page to sign back in. My hopes that my e-mail had been saved were not to be rewarded. Nope, just one measley paragraph was still there. Mind you, I’ve used Gmail since its inception, and have had many multiple-day sessions that NEVER timed out, so I was horrified that this one did.

    After finding no way to report the problem, I reverted to my mail to find an address that was once available on their site. I sent an e-mail and received the response that nobody would be reviewing my e-mail, ever. What kind of horsepoop is that? I realize this service is free, but there are plenty of competitors to give me free e-mail, if Google wants me to find one of them.

    Since I, too, use this address for important work, I can’t afford to have e-mails lost in the middle of composing them. I will have to carefully consider whether I continue to use Gmail in the future.

  14. Erica

    Yes, it happened to me. I just came home and nearly four years of emails are gone forever. And 500 contacts. I use gmail for work and I am a writer and college proffessor and I save all my writing, all my students work, basically everything in my life in my gmail. I spent the afternoon crying my eyes out, and no one from google seems to care or be able to do anything about it. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me. I do not recommend backing anything up, I recommend never using gmail ever again and telling everyone on earth to do the same.

  15. Last Sunday I tried to change my password, but I couldn’t log back in with my new password. I couldn’t believe that I had to wait five days to answer my challenge question. This is obnoxious! I’m furious over this. Not only am I locked out of my email, but my Google documents, my blog, and my site traffic analytics.

    I will definitely begin backing up my Gmail on a local client (if I continue to use the product at all).

    Unfortunately, I’m stuck in the penalty box all week, for the simple crime of changing my password.

    Google users, beware!

  16. Lost my personal homepage settings on two google accounts today. It was simply reset somehow… really strange and discomforting. I really depend on google services It would be a hellride if this happended to my gmail or docs…

  17. “Unfortunately your account has taken out.
    More information in Google help center blaa blaa”

    GREAT! all of my 86% usage has disappeared, without any explanations, i’m using my e-mail only for personal purposes like hobbies (extreme sport, web page projects etc.)

    It seems that it’s really true that Google=Microsoft. I’m not happy, i really chrust and liked to use Gmail. Now it’s only blaa blaa mail for me… this s*cks!

    Take a back up of your accounts, don’t be as stupid as i was…

  18. Well I’ve been getting the ‘username and password do not match’ thing too, I use gmail all the time and definitely have not forgotten my password. I tried to reset my password but didn’t receive an email at my secondary address and the security question asked after five days asked a question I’d never provided an answer for.

    Not very helpful to know, but thought I’d add my name to the seemingly growing list of people who have been let down by gmail.

  19. I’ve just discovered that some of my mail has disappeared as well. Luckily, I forwarded the most important ones to another account. The strange thing is gmail doesn’t even have a record of the forwards in my sent mail. Beware, backup your mail.

  20. booitspaula

    I can’t login to gmail. This is driving me nuts. I get the “username and password do not match” for both my gmail accounts, which is just wonderful. Anyone have any luck with theirs?
    I’m too impatient to wait 5 days without trying to login.

  21. SH** STICKS

    Two mornings 06/02/07 ago I could not login to my googlemail account. I need to urgently and it’s been 48 hours and all i’ve got from google is one automated response?! Reading this forum and others I don’t hold out much hope??!! Yes it’s free but have you ever heard of this happening with yahoo? I haven’t.

  22. its 4th Feb and i just discovered i’ve lost all my emails from my gmail. sheesh!!!! everything is wiped out from all my folders including my precious contacts!!! IS gMAIL DOING ANYTHING ABT GETTING THOSE EMAILS BACK TO ME???

  23. I had the ‘login does not match password’ problem at the weekend (13/14 Jan) and it is still not letting me in.
    I think someone’s hacked into my account and changed the password. All my gmails are forwarded to my work email, so suddenly I start getting all these random emails from spammers sent via gmail to my work address.
    Google have done bugger all to help me. Really annoyed as I’m a freelance journalist and without access to my gmail, I now have to find another reliable email that has enough storage space.
    So. Pissed. Off. I. Could. STAB.

  24. backing up gmail is easy enough to do thanks to the POP access, but what happens to all the label information? if you spend time assigning labels to emails, how do you back up THAT meta data?

  25. colin horn

    I have recently fallen foul of the ‘your account has been suspended’ problem, a have all the people i invited to join Gmail. I dont send spam or to my knowledge, propagate it, nor do any of the few people i invited! Contactin Google is a hopless notion and the link to their help page takes you to a page that says nothing about what to do if your account is suspended.

    I know it’s free but for gods sake surely this shouldn’t happen…!

  26. need help

    Whenever I try to log into Gmail, I get a message saying my username and password do not match. Then it prompts me to enter a code as it appears on the screen. Then nothing.

    Does anyone know where I can find out how to fix this? How do I contact Google?

    Strangely enough, I am encountering a log in error for my Yahoo email as well.

    Any ideas???

    please help!!


  27. Anyone who trusts their email to any online service without retaining a copy probably hasn’t had a computer hard drive crash on them. Once you have lost your data to a crash you know it can happen to anyone. To expect absolute zero errors from a web service provider is an act of faith, not of logic. To trust all your data to a single provider (increasingly people are doing this with Google) is an act of stupidity.

    Sorry, if that sounds arrogant or harsh – I try to tell everyone I meet not to do it and get a look like I am the idiot or paranoid. This not only can happen but will happen more than once. It’s a statistical thing.
    Do you want to play the odds with your email inbox?

    Mike D., one thing you get from POP that you don’t get from IMAP (unless you use the offline option)
    is a local copy – often I need data in an email message and I am not online – but I have a copy in my POP folder on my laptop.

    Especially with email, don’t have a single copy and that too online.

  28. Kathryn in Silicon Valley

    Another reason to do full and regular backups if using Gmail:

    If a person’s account gets suspended due to suspected TOS violations, then all of their Gmail invitees’ accounts also get suspended. This was reported in the “help, account deleted” threads for Gmail help on Google Groups.

    i.e. if Larry Page accidentally reports himself as a spammer and his account is suspended*, then mine will be suspended too: I’m an invitee of one of his invitees.

    I’m not happy with, but understand the reasoning for my account being in danger if I make a mistake.

    That all of my invitees, and theirs in turn, would also
    lose their accounts because of my error? I didn’t know that Gmail is Amway, and that I own all my downstreams.

    *although I’d bet the gmail team has VIP flags to prevent automated actions on accounts like his.