Tuesday, 28 May 2013

How Upgrading to Google Apps for Business Killed my Company's Email!

"I got logged out of my Flocations email. What's happening?" Kat, our intern Extraordinaire, asks me with mix of sadness and panic in her eyes.

My heart rate had just spiked as I had the same issue and was silently hoping it was limited to only my account. Unfortunately no, the problem affected the whole team. What happened?

I had finally clicked this f%&cking "Upgrade Now" button that Google had shown me ever since we started using Google Apps. I had personally dreamt of paying Google for their service because they have been my internet lifeline for years. Today was the day this dream would come true.


I wanted Google Apps for Business. Here is what I got:

Gmail not enabled for Flocations.com? My team has been using it for 2 years!
But you kicked us out once we wanted to pay you!

Flocations started using Google Apps in April 2011. Two years later, today, we have a new hire coming, so I simply wanted to create one more Google Apps account.

However, since the team had been growing, we had reached the limit of 10 users allowed by the free version. Not a big issue I thought; I will just click this big F%&cking 'Upgrade Now' button to create the additional account.

The F%&cking 'Upgrade Now'  button. Upgrade and (maybe) get your company's email, or not.

Upgrade made easy: No need for a credit card and no commitment beyond the 30 days trial.
Upgrading to the paid version is obviously innocuous and simple.

After filling out the form, and having seen no message that upgrading could cause any downtime, I saw the following:

Dude, where's my data?

The quota used by our users went down to 0… only slightly scary when all your company's emails are on Google Apps.
Then my business Gmail logged me out.
Then my intern came to me.
Then an another team member.
Then, another again.
The whole team had been kicked out of their company's email.



All is under control, I can still Google. Search that is.

Ok, there might be a delay after upgrading to the paid version: 72 hours… to get additional storage!
But, I now have 0 storage. I just want my PREVIOUS storage. Please!

Maybe I f%&ked up?
The FAQ does not mention that upgrading includes a we-don't-know-what-will-happen period:
"Will my team lose access to Google Apps for several hours after giving money to Google?"
Probably yes. Do you care? We don't.

I called Google Support at their-oh-my-gosh-top-secret-support-phone-number, and talked with Max:
- "uninstall Gmail and re-install it" he told me.
- "are you sure? I will not lose any data?"
- "no. got for it"?
- "really, it says it will delete the data in 30 days... "
- "It should be fine"
Fingers crossed. Click.

Nothing. I still have no Gmail and 0 storage.

- "Max, it did not work. What do I do now?"
- "Hmm... It's a known problem. It can take up to 24 hours."


The team looks at me. Not happy. I smile. I am French.

- "Max, can you repeat that please?"
- "Try again in half an hour. Sometimes it helps."

We gave up. I don't really like Max.

One hour later, I'm trying to work through this the French way, with red wine and pastis.
My phone rings, Claudia from Google Ireland wants to talk to me.

Well, she wants to talk to me after she reads a Google disclaimer that our call is being recorded (for the well-being of the world).

After I confirmed I am all for the well-being of the world, she gives me the magic solution: uninstall Gmail and re-install it.
Been there, done that.

Larry Page, why the f%&k are you doing this to me???

After 6 hours, 8 frustrated employees, and 2 customer appeasement phone calls Gmail is finally back online for Flocations. It seems that there was nothing to do. Just to wait. Not sure that's better.

Be careful when you upgrade to the paid version Google Apps! You might have the same issue.


  1. Wow. I realize Google is always in beta, but how did they not test that?

  2. after a friend's account got locked for a week cause it was hacked, i setup a new 'backupemail@gmail...' account, to download a copy of all my messages, just in case...

    1. As all data are duplicated to be stored by Google, and you duplicate it one more time yourself... imagine the number of times your emails are stored now? We live in a big data world...

  3. Oh flo... "The team looks at me. Not happy. I smile. I am French."