Google accounts have gravity, too

When Dave McCrory first wrote about data gravity in 2010, he described the effect data has on apps. The more data that exists in one place, the more that place will pull in applications that act on the data. This makes sense. In fact, it’s at the core of the business strategy for many as-a-Service providers. But it turns out that it’s not just data in databases and files that have gravity.

Email is kind of important sometimes

Over the past month or so, I’ve had occasional trouble with email delivery to my domain. Since my friend is gracious enough to host my site for free, I didn’t want to push too much. But I nearly missed out on an opportunity to be a technical reviewer for a forthcoming book. I worried what other messages might not be getting through.

A few quick attempts at fixing the problem didn’t work. I got the sense that I was starting to become a burden. So I decided to take my friend’s advice and get a GSuite account. This turned out to be less easy than I expected.

Okay, so creating the account and getting my DNS settings updated was easy. The hard part is what to do with all of the data.

Accounts are data, too

The biggest challenge is that – as far as I can tell – there’s no way to take a free Google account and “promote” it. I’m an organization of one, so it works out really well for me to just say “change the domain name on this account and start charging me money for it”. That doesn’t seem to be a use case that Google supports.

No matter, they have tools for transferring (some) data. Email, calendar, and contact data can be transferred. But not settings, which may end up being a pain. (Mail filters, which I use heavily, can be exported and reimported, so that’s nice.) Oh and my Google Voice number? It looks like it can be transferred, but that’s my primary number so I’m hesitant to test it out. And what about my Chome data? And my Android data? Or the sites where I use my Google account as the login?

Yes, I am heavily invested in Google. More than I realized, even. I don’t mind that. I am aware of the tradeoff I’m making and I choose to make it. But it turns out there’s a lot of pain in switching all of my accounts over.

Reaching escape velocity

For now, I POP mail from my paid account into my free account. That seems silly, but it’s a functional setup for now. Part of me thinks I should keep doing that, since it means I don’t have to change anything and it’s easy to give up the GSuite account then. But I’ll probably move everything over at some point. I’ll find some annoyance that gives me just the boost I need to reach escape velocity. In the meantime, I’ll stay stuck to the planet.

One thought on “Google accounts have gravity, too

  1. I’ve been about to make that transition for, well, years. Dealing with self-managed email, or the service which comes paired from my hosting company, is a huge pain in the butt. Dealing with spam filtering (inbound) and not having your messages filtered as spam (outbound) is the worst. But going through all of the effort to fix it and/or transition to GSuite is exhausting, and it’s not even an interesting problem to solve, just a time consuming one.

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