13 May 2010

Google is officially random. (And yes, my blog is back...)

Today, possibly around noon or so, my blog was removed. It turns out that Blogger, owned by Google, decided that it was a neat idea to block access to my Gmail account and my blogger account at the same time, while also blocking everyone else's access to my blog that I've been faithfully contributing to for years. A damaging message was placed on it to the effect of "This blog has been removed." Obviously, it's not... now.

At the time all Google told me is that it was due to a "violation". Violation of what? From me? How on earth?? I maintain a mundane linguistics blog. How did this become too X-rated to handle all of a sudden? Sufficed to say, my heart dropped and I was completely floored that Google's system could really be this asinine. Yet it is. And it gets even more suspect as I was to soon discover.

I was given only two options to remedy the situation. The first thing I tried was to use their contact form. But let's face it. We all know that the Google Team would take their sweet time responding because I, you and everyone else is just a number in their overblown bureaucracy. By that point, all my readers would be completely gone and my blog effectively destroyed just by some retarded technicality. And keep in mind, Google was just not telling me what the "violation" was! Why the secret?

I was leery of the second option that Google provided. Supposedly, my account could be "immediately" unblocked if I simply provided them one teensy thing: my cellphone number. Excuse me? That's really getting personal. I don't hand my cellphone to everybody because I don't want jerks phoning me or advertisers harassing me with their wares. But Google had me by the balls and was essentially holding my blog and email account for randsome until I divulged my personal info which may or may not be compromised in the future. I caved in, shelled out the number, and magically, the block was lifted and my blog restored.


Checking into my gmail, I noticed a message in my account that I never wrote. Now I had the disturbing answer. Apparently some jackass hacker from Russia had cracked into Google's servers and used numerous accounts just to spam some stupid site of theirs to each victim's contact emails. Swell! So basically, my worst fears realized: Google, not being able to keep my email, my blog account or even its own server secure now has my cellphone number to be abused too. Hooray!

I'm so turned off with Google at this point, I mean war. I'm thinking of ways to wean myself off of Google products quickly and Wordpress is looking good now. I'll be looking into that shortly. I expect better handling of the problem than this from a legitimate "service" but it seems that nowdays "service" has become a jaded term designating its complete opposite. Freedom is slavery; war is peace; service is random.


  1. Hi,
    We have received 495 nominations for The Top 100 Language Blogs 2010 competition. For each of the four categories we have admitted 100 blogs into the voting phase. Your blog is included for voting in the 'Language Professionals' category. Congratulations!
    As stated in our language blog Lexiophiles, 50% of the final score will be based on user votes. You can promote your blog by embedding a voting button in your page. The button code is available in the Lexiophiles blog. It can also be sent via email if you contact me.
    The voting phase started on May 12th and ends on May 24th. Winners will be announced May 28th.
    Good luck!
    on behalf of the bab.la and Lexiophiles team

  2. I disagree with calling Google "random."
    The first that come to mind are "half-assed" amd "another brick of crap in the coprolitic wall", or even "a self-serving and self-servicing conglomeration of douchebags."

  3. Glen, I don’t blame you. Having looked at a lot of these cases where Google deleted legit blogs, there is nothing about Paleoglot that would suggest any spamminess—and why they would shut both your Gmail and your blog account down when only one had been hacked is beyond me.
       It cost you your cellphone number (and one wonders what would people do if they don’t use cellphones—I remain one of those people who hold out on habitual cellphone usage). It cost me and a friend about six months of our lives (here’s our saga). Since then, I’ve quite successfully de-Googled my life, shutting down the various accounts I have with them. Fortunately, I never went on to Gmail, and only have a few more services to go before I am free of Google. I still use it for search and Google News, which I believe they are quite good at, but as for the add-ons, they have lost me.
       Good luck with shifting to Wordpress. I took the plunge at the end of 2009 for my own blog, and one of our work ones went in 2008, and I have not been happier with the software.

    (PS.: As another sign of Google’s unreliability, it took ten attempts to feed this comment in.)

  4. Wow, Jack, that's an interesting article. Very enlightening. I didn't realize how extensive Google's problems are. It reminds us all to never leave all of our technological eggs in one basket.

  5. I heard this NPR interview with this Google guy explaining how they developed speech recognition algorithms using their enormous databases in many languages. You may find it interesting. Are you interested in the research on current language change?