✈ Google Cuts Off Travellers

Usually when I want to illustrate the capricious and arbitrary nature of cloud-provided services, I use other examples. But today Google has shown me that they too simply can’t be trusted to provide a service one relies upon. They are perfectly happy to leave you stranded without explanation or remedy.

As well as shutting down the Gizmo voice-over-IP service they bought, without any explanation or alternative but at least with a little warning sent via e-mail, they have also taken away the ability for anyone to use the “Call Phone” capability within Google Talk in GMail while outside the US. You probably won’t have used it if you had Gizmo set up, but now you need it – it’s gone.

So if you were using Google Voice for your phone calls while in the US and then relying on either using your Android phone with a VoIP client or the Voice support in Chat to manage your calls while you are travelling, forget it. They just turned it off, without warning, explanation or even the courtesy of a response to users in their online forums. That calling credit you have is now useless until you get back to the USA.

This is not the behaviour of a reliable service provider. I’m sure they are technically within their rights; there’s probably a load of weasel-words in some terms of service somewhere. But to provide a service that people depend upon and then withdraw it without warning, explanation, alternative or apology is simply unacceptable.

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