I can't log in

How much of your digital life would you thua trận if you lost a single password? Without it, you are locked out và the cold reality of using không tính tiền cloud services like Google is that you don’t have a human arbiter lớn help you. If you think back khổng lồ earlier times where, say you lost your ngân hàng book, your local banker probably knew who you were và could help you navigate the process of getting it replaced. When you đại bại your password, it’s not that simple — as I found out.

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Imagine you have spent much of your digital life for the last 12 years on Google. You rely on their mail và calendar, Google Drive sầu for storage và Google Photos for your pholớn archive. Then imagine that one day, you get locked out after forgetting your password.

That’s what happened khổng lồ me.

Who are you?

About a month ago, I went to sign inkhổng lồ Google. I use different passwords all the time and I forgot which one I had used most recently for Google. I clicked ‘Forgot Password’ as I always had. I was asked to send a confirmation khổng lồ my phone they had on file. I did that. I responded & was asked to lớn send a confirmation code khổng lồ my gmail. I did that & entered the code. I was asked to answer a security question. I answered it.

At that point, you would think I had done more than enough khổng lồ prove sầu that I was who I said I was. I had supplied, not one, not two, but three factors of identification, but this was not enough for Google for some reason.

I was asked khổng lồ enter the most recent password I remembered. I did that. I was asked when I first opened my trương mục. I have no idea khổng lồ be honest & it’s kind of a weird security requirement because seriously, who is going lớn rethành viên when they opened their Google trương mục to the month if it was over a decade ago? It’s not information people typically keep.

I got lớn the kết thúc of the process expecting khổng lồ be asked for a new password. I was told I was locked out & I would have sầu to make a request khổng lồ Google to lớn get in. I followed the procedure, waited for several days (a lifetime without access to lớn my gmail, calendar, documents) và I was told I was rejected.

I’m not sure how many ways you have khổng lồ identify yourself lớn satisfy Google, but apparently all the ways I had supplied weren’t enough. There was nothing in the gmail about any recourse. I was simply locked out.

No where to lớn run to, baby

I was at an impasse và not sure what khổng lồ do, but use my contacts as a journacác mục. If I hadn’t been a journacác mục with such contacts, I’m not sure what I would have done, but I had them and I used them hoping lớn resolve sầu this quickly. As it turned out, it would not be quichồng at all.

On December 5th, I sent a note to a PR contact who I work with on Google-related news & I told hyên ổn about my problem. He said he had gotten my case escalated and I should hear within 24 hours.

On Dec 7th after not hearing from Google, I contacted hyên again & he gave me this procedure khổng lồ try, which was pretty much the same procedure I had tried before:

Visit https://accounts.google.com/signin/recoveryEnter UsernameCliông xã on “Try a different question” at every step until they reach the question “When did you create this Google Account?”Select approximate date when the account was created và clichồng “Next”Enter any contact gmail address that they have sầu access khổng lồ và finish the whole verification process.Please ensure that regardless of whether the user knows the answer lớn the questions or not, they complete answering all the questions till the end. Completing the tài khoản recovery process, will create a case for us to lớn work with.

I dutifully did this and once again got a message that Google couldn’t verify the trương mục.

Five sầu days later I still hadn’t heard anything, so on December 12th I contacted my truyền bá friend again, who at this point had khổng lồ be getting pretty tired of being my go-between. He did his thing & told me that the remix links was being sent to lớn an alternative sầu address of mine.

I got an tin nhắn from Google later in the day, which I shared with my lăng xê contact:

Hi there,

Here at Google, we’re constantly trying khổng lồ provide you the best customer tư vấn experience.

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You recently contacted our support team to regain access to your Google trương mục. Since then, have you been able to successfully sign baông xã inlớn your account?

The choices were Yes/No. I chose No và asked for a new remix comm&.

The Remix comm& never came.

Help me if you can I’m feeling down

On December 13th I tried getting in touch with Google by Twitter, posting my case number và pleading for some help. None came.

Google my case # is <7-4240000018376> I haven’t been able get into lớn my Google trương mục for a couple of weeks in spite of following the forgot password protocol, responding lớn a confirmation on my phone, at my gmail và answering security questions. I need this resolved.

— Ron Miller (
ron_miller) December 13, 2017

That same day I opened a second GMail trương mục so I could have sầu access khổng lồ services lượt thích an email account if need be, even if it didn’t have any of my previous data in there.

Two days later on December 15th I still hadn’t received that remix commvà and it turned out I never would. I had a case number, yet it was lượt thích it didn’t exist.

Three more days passed. On December 18th I contacted the poor beleaguered truyền bá contact yet again và he wrote baông chồng. They wanted me lớn go through the process again except using my furnituremaisak.com email instead of my other alternative. I pushed baông xã that I already had an open case, but he suggested I do it and see it what happens.

Reunited và it feels so good

I started the process entered my furnituremaisak.com gmail & was simply asked to lớn enter a new password and I was bachồng in. After all that, that was all it took. I was ecstatic lớn have my digital life bachồng, but I’m still shocked at a) how easy it was lớn thua trận access and b) how little recourse there was khổng lồ get it back.

Once you have sầu gone through the recovery protocol, what is a person supposed lớn do to get Google’s attention? They don’t have customer service, yet I’m paying for storage. They don’t have a reasonable system for navigating this kind of problem and they don’t have sầu a sensible appeals process.

It goes to show just how tenuous our hold on our digital lives really is. If you thua kém access & you have nobody khổng lồ talk to lớn, you are out in the cold with little or no possibility of getting any kind of reasonable help, especially without special contacts lượt thích I had because of my job. If so much of our lives depends on that single password, three factors of identification should surely be more than enough proof khổng lồ get bachồng in.

The only thing I can suggest, and which I think I will vì in the future, is khổng lồ use a password manager và don’t leave sầu it khổng lồ chance. One day you could clichồng “Forgot Password” and that could be the last time you access your Google trương mục. Your digital life could be hanging by that thin thread called your password, and if you can’t remember it at some point, it’s lượt thích you don’t exist và you are cut off.

Editor’s Note: We contacted Google for a phản hồi about this, but hadn’t heard baông chồng by the time of publication. If we bởi vì, we will update the story.

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Writer’s Note: Since writing this story, I have sầu discovered a faster way lớn recover your trương mục.

Chuyên mục: Mail