Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gmail to Restore All Lost Data

There are risks to trusting your data to the cloud, just as there are risks to your own copies of your files. The best solution in most cases is both; backing up in the cloud and keeping a personal back up as well (I suggest Dropbox or a similar type service that does both automatically). Fortunately for the many users who woke up to an apparent wiped gmail archive, a small percentage of Gmail users still translates into a lot of people, all of their data should be restored soon.


"Imagine the sinking feeling of logging in to your Gmail account and finding it empty. That’s what happened to 0.02% of Gmail users yesterday, and we’re very sorry. The good news is that email was never lost and we’ve restored access for many of those affected. Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we're making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon.

I know what some of you are thinking: how could this happen if we have multiple copies of your data, in multiple data centers? Well, in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. That’s what happened here. Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue.

To protect your information from these unusual bugs, we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they’re protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it’s taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds.

Once your inbox is refilled you may find the need for some help dealing with the constant information overload.


"Many Gmail power users have elaborate label systems to help organize their mail -- some help file and retrieve mail, others help manage their attention.

We created the “Hide read labels” and “Hide Labels from Subjects” labs to help people manage their ever-growing lists of labels. Given the popularity and usefulness of these labs, we’ve decided to graduate them into fully-fledged features. We’ve also made a few improvements to how they work. First, instead of simply hiding all labels from subject lines, you can now choose which labels to show or hide. We also spiffed up and organized the Labels tab in Settings as well as the dropdown menus for each label in the label list.

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