Friday, 18 November 2016

This Looks Like A Fine Reason To Walk Away From Google

A number of sites are reporting that upwards of 200 users have had their Google accounts suspended after buying and selling-on Pixel phones from the company's Project Fi carrier.

The reason for doing so was to take advantage of the New Hampshire State sales tax - it doesn't have one. Customers bought their phones and then had them delivered to a New Hampshire reseller who sold them on and split the profit with the original customer.

So let's examine this whole process from a consumer's point of view.

First, Google sells you a phone that it prohibits you from reselling. However this isn't a piece of software or artwork, you aren't buying a license to the phone. This is a physical product whose title transfers to you at the point of sale. Google has no interest in the product at the point where the purchase has completed and has no legal right to dictate what you do with your phone from then on.

Next the response. Banning access to a person's Google account potentially denies them access to email, documents and photographs that exist nowhere else and are effectively lost to the user, punishing them for an incident unrelated to any of those services.

Aside from the disproportionate level of response, this kind of action set a a precedent. Google has a Mafia-like protection racket going on here. Do as I say or the files get hurt.

The is untenable behaviour from a company promoting the use of the cloud as an alternative to local storage. If you're all in with Google, it may be time to reassess that relationship ahead of the day when the company takes exception to something you've done and brings the ban hammer to bear against your use of its cloud services.

iCloud may be a disaster of Hollywood epic proportions, but right now I'd say that Apple's incompetence trumps Google's malevolence all ends up.

On the plus side, thank heavens for OneDrive.

 

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