Free products like gmail – do users have a say?

For the last week, gmail has just stopped working for me. Boy, it has not been fun, being locked out of your personal emails. I also use google docs and the story is no different here – I am locked out of my documents as well. I have tried everything that Google has recommended on their discussion groups but to no avail. Initially I thought the problem appeared to be related to accessing gmail from web browsers on a Mac but now I am finding that this problem exists on Windows as well – web browser does not matter. Speculation on discussion groups is that this was caused by Google’s latest update. I have seen reports of this issue as early as couple of months back and to this date, there has not been a fix?

This raises some important questions about free products: Because it is free, does that mean users do not have much say – after all beggars cannot be choosers, they say. There is no customer support number to talk to a human, you can send an email to google, but it says there will be no response from them. All this from a company who has grandiose plans to replace archrival Microsoft from its stronghold position in business apps? I think Google is going through growing pains of delivering its once well known Saas solutions of gmail.

I was one of those users who did not care about ads pasted within my email, but I cannot live without my personal email. Is this what we get for using free products? Do we have any say or are we left on our own?

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