Leaving Google Apps

I love Gmail. I think it is the best webmail interface out of any of the major providers. This is why, along with great spam protection, I decided to set Google Apps for domains up on some of my domains. After several years using Google Apps with some of my domains, I think it’s time to call it quits.

Google Apps has grown by leaps and bounds and they really consider themselves an alternative for Microsoft’s offerings. I think they may be growing faster than they can handle though. I’ve been having several issues on multiple Apps accounts and because it’s Google, there is no help to be found. Sure you can search their help center but that just gives you a bunch of people complaining about the same issues. You have no way of knowing if and when Google is going to fix an issue. Some of the major issues that have literally made some accounts unusable are:

  • Permanent redirects when logging in. On one account I put in user credentials and the browser redirects over and over until the browser realizes it will never end and stops trying. This issue goes back a couple months with no one finding a solution that works. This makes logging into the control panel or the mailbox completely impossible. The only way to get email on this account is via IMAP.
  • Unable to edit groups. On a domain where I am actually able to log in I can’t edit groups. I click on the group name and I’m redirected to a Google 404 page. Again, I found people having this issue dating back to the beginning of summer. No fix.
  • Unable to delete groups. Another group issue comes when I go to delete a group. I select the group and click delete. The page refreshes and it tells me group is deleted. But it isn’t. It is still listed in my account.

So, I think with these errors it is time to leave Google. I need to go someplace where things work reliably and when/if they don’t I can actually contact a support person for an answer and a fix. You may be asking why I don’t use the email service that comes with my hosting. Well, it’s shared hosting and anyone on a shared hosting account knows that they have issues with major ISPs blocking shared hosting IPs, plus spam checking is subpar, so I need to find an alternative provider.

Today I started a 14 day trial of Rackspace Email on one of my domains. Their webmail looks good, but I probably won’t use it that much. Since Google enabled IMAP all my domain email has been accessed via IMAP most of the time so it’s likely that will be the same at Rackspace. Some things they also have which makes the move easier are excellent spam and virus protection as well as superior support. We shall see how it works out.

Edit: Despite being told in the comments that I needed to upgrade to premium for these issues to be looked at, they are now miraculously fixed. One of the many Google employees that have visited the site today must have had a hand in it because I highly doubt that these issues just happened to fix themselves today. To the Google employee that helped me out, a sincere thank you.

Edit #2: Setting up a Google Apps account for a friend and I decided to download and install Opera. It had never been used to log into any Google accounts or services. It had completely empty cache and cookies. I set up the account then tried to log in and got the permanent redirect. This was on a brand new instance of Google apps. Something is wrong with their system and no one seems to know how to fix it and Google doesn’t care.

7 replies
  1. Ken
    Ken says:

    I’ve been with Rackspace for 3 years now. LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A couple of days ago had trouble logging in to my account. It was 2am, called them. They picked up on the 2nd ring. Tried to trouble shoot the problem, no immediate resolution. Instead of keeping me on hold, they took my number. Called back within 10 min., problem fixed. You will not get that level of service at Google.

  2. Anonymous Googler
    Anonymous Googler says:

    what domain names do you have registered with Google Apps? And are you using Standard or Premier Edition?

    • shep
      shep says:

      The domains with the issues were:

      For permanent redirect issue (which I tried all the solutions of clearing cookies, etc) is amandacarter.com. This one I administer for a friend. She is still using Google Apps.

      For the groups issues (both of them), that is the domain letstalkabout.tv.

    • Anonymous Googler
      Anonymous Googler says:

      I see that both domains are standard edition, which means that they are not entitled to live support, if you would like to sign up for the 30 day trial, you can receive support for these issues you are experiencing, and then decide whether or not you would like to continue with Google Apps Premier edition after the 30 days. Support is offered 24/7 for system critical issues via phone and email, and 24/5 for all other issues. To register the domains go to your Control Panel, and click the ‘Try Premier Edition Free’ link. Here is some more information on Premier Edition: http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.html.

    • shep
      shep says:

      I think you’re kind of missing the point. It would be one thing to make people pay for support if all they were needing was instructions on how to set up Outlook or import contacts or how to use the calendar or any of the apps available in the apps market. This stuff is covered extensively in the online help. It’s something completely different when it is an issue with the software itself.

      Yes, I’m using the standard apps edition and it is free, but because it’s free, does that mean all expectations of a working product should be lost? I never used to think so.

      Also, I would think that’s bad business to even suggest that because I’m a standard user the software’s issues are not important unless I upgrade. That kind of thinking makes me wonder who would ever upgrade to the premium to begin with. I mean, for someone to say, upgrade to premium and you can have your issue looked at really makes me wonder about Google as a company.

  3. Pankaj
    Pankaj says:

    Hi Shep. What you are in the research phase, you may also want to look at HyperOffice (http://www.hyperoffice.com). We are one of the well known names in the Google Apps (web messaging and collaboration) space, and bring considerably more experience (founded in 1998). You get IMAP/POP3 mail support, Outlook integration (which we’ve offered since 2006), push messaging for 1700 mobile devices including iPhone and BlackBerry (Google Apps requires the BlackBerry connector which works with BES) in addition to collaboration features – shared docs, sites, forums, do it yourself workflows, web forms, task management (Google Apps doesn’t have this).

    We also include free training and phone support for all users for all issues (not only for critical issues).

  4. Jon W
    Jon W says:

    All over the free/open source software world it is commonly understood that if you need quick turnaround on support, you need to pay something in. I just don’t think the concept is that hard to grasp. Who should be the one to discern your corner case bug from the random support questions that flood daily over the transom from those enjoying the free service? Do you propose that they should do it for charity’s sake?

    Try to understand that any reliable ability to discern that in reasonably short time costs nearly as much as it would to offer full support to all nonpayers.

    And another thing! Did you actually use the bug report form to let google know what was happening? I didn’t read about any such attempts here, and I found the appropriate page in about two seconds by googling “report gmail bug” – http://mail.google.com/support/bin/request.py?contact_type=inproduct&hl=en

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