Google Drive Sucks

Google Drive storage loses Google Docs data

I lost years of work and personal memories that I saved as Google Docs files because of a poor user interface.

What happened

I was organizing my files on my local computer. I moved them around and out of my Google Drive folder which syncs files. I didn't think anything of it. In the process I got an email from Google saying I'm running out of storage. So I go to the Google Drive site and empty the trash. I didn't think anything of it. I finish organizing my files.

The next morning, I go to open a .gdoc file and get this error:

My heart sank. What happened to the work from yesterday? I opened another file. Then another. All of them the same message. I was starting to freak out.

I realized I had moved the files out of the Google Drive sync folder and tried moving one of them back. Still the same. And my Drive syncing gives an error that the file is "unsyncable".

Customer support response

I immediately attempted to contact customer support. I sent an email right away about my situation. I didn't get a response for another 24 hours. I was told to send more details. I did. Another 24 hours passed before another response confirmed the worst case scenario that had been going through my head for the past two days:

Thanks for writing back!

I've looked at the file URLs you've listed and our records indicate that these files were permanently deleted from your Trash on 10/21/13.

I'm afraid, once files are permanently deleted from the Trash filter of your Google Drive account, they cannot be recovered.

Additionally, please know that moving Google Docs files out of your Google Drive folder on your computer will cause their counterpart files on the web to be moved to the trash.

If you then purge the trash, those files will become permanently inaccessible. Because the Docs files in your Drive folder are essentially links to files that exist online, moving these files back into your Drive folder after purging the trash online will not restore the files, as their online counterparts will have been deleted.

Unfortunately, there isn't anything much that I can do to help you, in this case.

I'm sorry, I wish I could be of more help.

To be clear, I never actively deleted the Google Docs .gdoc files, I only moved them. Getting the storage full email lead me to empty the Trash without thinking that my .doc files would be in there to be removed.

Not satisfied, I went back to the Google Drive support website and found that there was a way to call customer support. I did so and was essentially told the same thing. I asked to talk to a supervisor. I just couldn't believe that all my work could disappear because of a simple user error.

Horrible user interface

That's what it came down to. The steps I took were to move files out of a Goole Drive folder on my local computer thinking that the files were all there. In fact they are there, but the .gdoc files are just empty links with no data. I see a list of everything I wrote in Google Docs, but can never see the actual content again.

My background with Google

I started using Google Docs since around the time the service started. As a web designer and developer, I was a fan of Google and followed all their stuff. I even signed up for their Chrome OS beta and was one of the first to test out the early hardware. I never would have expected something like this. Google's entire business is based on data and they let something like this happen so easily.

Google, not evil? It certainly doesn't care

Talking to the supervisor he even agreed that the interaction for this to happen was badly done and told me that the issue came up "every once in a while". And yet nothing had been done about it. Something that can happen so easily but has such a large personal impact. Just blame it on the user.

Word of warning

Do not use Google Drive. My experience shows how little value Google puts in providing a good service.

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See also: Chrome is Bad | Google alternatives

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