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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006.



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18.03.2010

Google Docs doesn’t want bad news

Google survey

This is a bit odd. I was asked to fill out a survey regarding Google Docs, which I promptly did. I didn’t give it very high marks, and after clicking submit, the response was ‘You have indicated that you do not use Google Docs.’
   I beg your pardon?
   I indicated that I had used Google Docs, because Google defines the service as follows: ‘Consider Google Docs products including Google Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms, and its homepage.’ I have indeed opened Google documents and I have been to the home page. I have outputted documents from there—I know that because I did that tonight.
   However, it seems Google does not want to hear bad news from its survey respondents, so those of us who give it a low score are classed as people who have not used the service. Otherwise, the logic must go, why on earth would you rank it so poorly? Everyone here, from Eric Schmidt downwards, knows that Google Docs deserves a high rating! You are obviously inexperienced!
   This prompted me to do a bit of surfing about the survey. I was interested, in my “I have it in for Google” (thanks, Nigel!) mode, that deleting a Google Docs file does not mean that associated images are also wiped. Those who use the service might wish to take heed.
   In 2007, Ralf Scharnetzki created a private, unpublished Google Docs document, with an image. He deleted the document. However, three years on, you can still access the image here (at a docs.google.com link).
   I realize that in 99 per cent of cases, the image will be secure. No one other than the author—and not every author, either—will know the location of an image. But on the internet, stranger things have happened. Obviously those with confidential data would not use Google Docs to assemble their work—but we are only human: you never know when you might let your guard down.
   Just be careful out there. ‘Deleted’ does not mean, well, deleted.

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Filed under: business, internet—Jack Yan @ 10.31

2 Responses to ‘Google Docs doesn’t want bad news’

  1. Daniel says:

    Good to know, Jack! I use Google Docs all the time–and I really like it. But 1) when you delete something it should be gone (I realize with servers that can always take a while, but not years, and 2) unless you publish a doc, no part of it should be accessible unless someone is logged in. Looks like they have some ‘splain’in to do! As more and more of our data is in the cloud, privacy becomes more and more important.

  2. Jack Yan says:

    Hi Daniel: I fully agree. I am not as big a fan of Google, but I can appreciate a lot of the good stuff they do. And the idea behind Docs is a very fine one. It is sad that this glitch dates back to 2007 and, from what I could tell of Mr Scharnetzki’s trackbacks, he has received quite a bit of coverage. Let’s hope it is a lesson for others who wish to offer services on the cloud.

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