Saturday, January 07, 2012
Noms Exercise and Google
If the video doesn't play, click here.
Now, we (all us Funny Farmers) would like to get serious for a moment. Many of you are aware that for some time Blogger blogs have been suddenly deleted for no reason - supposedly for suspicious activity (spam) - and the blog owner has had to request a review and hope the blog reappears soon, even though not in violation of any TOS (terms of service).
Yesterday "Old Kitty" and Charlie's blog was suddenly deleted. Now you can't get any more innocuous content than they post. There is nothing untoward or spammy about their blog. It has been restored, but what we learned yesterday deeply disturbs us.
You see, for some reason they could only request a review by giving a mobile (cell) phone number. When they tried to use the drop down box for their landline number, they were told the number didn't fit the mobile format. In other words, the only way they could communicate with Google/Blogger was to receive a text message on the cell phone they don't have.
For months Jan was pestered by Google to give a home phone or cell phone number for 2 step protection, to retrieve her password, for blog identity protection or whatever. She ignored the requests until she got disgusted and gave them her home LANDLINE phone number. She didn't think any more about it until yesterday.
She started checking the settings in her two Google accounts. Not blogs, Google accounts, there's a difference - your blog is part of a Google account but the Google account covers gmail, Blogger, Picasa (and yes, if you have a Google account, you DO have a Picasa account!) and all the other Google-related applications. From our understanding and reading, if Google closes your blog, it closes everything related to that Google account.
Jan was shocked to find a reference to her account using text verification, but she doesn't have a cell phone! So she started digging around in settings and found Google had taken her LANDLINE phone # and marked it as a mobile number to receive text messages. There was no option for a landline, mobile only! So if something happened to our blog, we would have been in the same boat Old Kitty and Charlie were in yesterday,. No way to contact Google. Jan deleted the phone # and hopes if something happened to her account, Google would use her recovery address.
Some of you are no more tech-oriented than our Jan, so we're going to explain how to check your settings to be sure you won't have this problem. We don't know whether you are using the old or new dashboard, but there is a means from each to access your settings. In the new dashboard, just click on the name of your blog in the upper right and click on Account Settings in the drop down menu. That will take you to Google accounts.
Click on Recovering Your Password.
Email: check your email address. Do you have a recovery address in case you are using gmail and the gmail has been deleted? You need a non-gmail address.
SMS: This is where your cell # goes if you have one so they can text you a password reset code if necessary.
Security question: If you haven't set up a security question, this would be a good time to.
If you made changes, click SAVE, if none, click CANCEL to return to your personal settings.
Now for the part that really upset Jan. She read a lot of information yesterday that says to open a gmail account now you have to give a cell phone # for verification. This sound innocent. Especially when they say it is to cut down on spammers opening blogs and a mobile phone is more reliable than an email address because you keep your phone with you. But they add, if you don't have a mobile phone, ask a friend to use their cell number to get your verification code.
Jan read that and said if Google closes her account and tries to blackmail her into doing that, her blog and email will remain deleted. Because she neither knows anyone who would let her give Google their cell number, nor would she ask anyone to do so. This could cause problems down the road. We know that once that number went into Google's records, it would be associated with Jan's personal information and never be deleted from Google's files.
We found an interesting article on Gmail SMS verification details and reasons,
Have a great weekend! Oh, in case you didn't notice, we asked Jan to give our blog a makeover. We hope you like it.