Great, gmail is down for days now. I really hope it will return soon, so I can back up that mail to my server. By going down, Google showed me how much I came to rely on them, while they’re actually unreachable when something happens, and I don’t even have backups of my own mails! I really like gmail and the way it organizes your mail by -ehrm- not organizing it (when it’s up, that is).
Problem with these free online services (gmail, hotmail, yahoo mail…) is that because you do not pay for them, you can’t hold them responsible for anything basically. Sure, they have a moral duty to be online because you trust them with your mail, and they can’t violate that trust. But still, you don’t pay them, and they probably have had lawyers carefully craft the license agreement so that you can’t sue them when they go down or -shudder- loose your data.
So, when you’re using gmail, make sure you also set up a machine at home to backup your account through POP. I know I’ll be doing that when it comes back up. I also tell people to send mail to my email alias. Most people don’t even know my gmail address. Another good measure for being able to switch mail providers without having to tell everybody. So… watch it google, you may loose a freeloading customer here! (you can stop giggling now, Larry, and you too, Sergey)