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Sky's Botched Google Migration In the UK 101

Posted by kdawson
from the flip-the-switch-now-no-wait-i-meant-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Rupert Murdoch-owned British ISP Sky is migrating their customers to the Google Apps platform, and the customer experience is terrible. Their 1 million customers were told that they need to change their client settings to enable SMTP Authentication and other settings on a certain date — but not to do it before then or their e-mail would break; but if you don't do it on the date your e-mail will also break. Oh, and if you're a POP user you also need to enable that manually in the 'Skoogle' interface, as seemingly they chose not to run a system-wide command to allow it for all users. In addition, if you want help then you're pretty much on your own. One user has made 7 support calls and still not been able to access his e-mail since the migration. Hardly surprising that the story has made the papers with their help-desk in meltdown. It does make you wonder why they simply didn't put proxy servers in place to proxy the new service by modifying the old settings in the network and give their customers time to switch over without their e-mail breaking in the meantime. Or even a simple ActiveX tool to help out the less technical users."
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Sky's Botched Google Migration In the UK

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  • ActiveX??? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @06:09AM (#21469839)
    Are you mad?
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @07:42AM (#21470141)
    The guide or howto for the migration appears to be fool proof. But I wonder whether there could be any technical problem with the migration. Is it possible that Google servers have been overwhelmed by the change that appears to be abrupt?
  • by The_reformant (777653) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @07:58AM (#21470197)
    This is one of many reasons most people I know don't use their ISP email. Apart from the obvious one that it doesnt usually follow you across ISPs.

    I have my work email for business / high priority stuff and web mail for my personal life, I thought this kind of setup was actually the norm.
  • by Joe Jay Bee (1151309) * <jbsouthsea&gmail,com> on Sunday November 25, 2007 @08:26AM (#21470315)
    Most of their customers probably already use gmail, so why continue offering the service?

    At least among the technically inexperienced, Gmail usage isn't all that high in the UK. Even looking at my college IT class, most of whom were geeks of some description, it was mostly Hotmail or Yahoo.

    Of course this is anecdotal evidence, but still...
  • by phoxix (161744) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @08:47AM (#21470391)
    In Google there exists a paradigm that states email is all about the "conversation". Because email is all about the conversation the result is for people to not receive their own posts to a mailing list. (Instead they simply have a copy of it from their sent mail folder in the "stack".) This might work great for the web interface, but not at all for POP3.

    POP3 clients (simple or advanced) do not following this "conversation" paradigm, and by not getting a copy of their own post two things happen: A) You have no confirmation the post made it to the list and B) you break threading on the email client because now people are responding to a message that never made it on my list.

    The sad part is attempting to send yourself a copy of the message via CC: or BCC: does not work! Its like Gmail went out of its way to ensure you do not get a copy of your own post. Additionally while Google searching suggests there is an option to get yourself a copy of your own post, I was unable to find it anywhere.

    I feel sorry for any of these people who are being switched over to Gmail's POP3 and are on mailing lists.

    Others have written about the situation as well: Gmail + POP + mailing lists = broken [playbacktime.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:03PM (#21471869)
    My experience with gmail has been that it ALWAYS gives you your sent mail when you access it on POP3. In fact, it's really annoying. It would be even more annoying if the mailing lists returned it too, since then you'd get it twice. That post you linked to is pretty old, so maybe it used to work the way you describe in January, but not now.
  • Re:Risk Trifecta (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Epsillon (608775) on Sunday November 25, 2007 @01:43PM (#21472139) Homepage Journal

    Hasn't anybody over there heard of:[snip]
    Yes, most of us have, especially those of us in IT. The problem is we have Murdoch's crap (Sky) with their don't give a shit attitude, Beardy Branson's Virgin Media (the name says it all) and Tiscali (Italian for crap) to choose from, along with the monopoly telco BT's offerings which, although they were haemorrhaging customers right, left and centre a few years ago, seem to have come out as the best of a bad bunch. The UK is very cost conscious (we're tight bastards) so we'll quite happily trade reliability for getting broadband for a tenner and what most people fail to realise is that the broadband packages are simply loss leaders for other products such as Virgin's cable TV or Sky's satellite.

    The real ISPs, such as Eclipse, Zen, Bogons et al probably do follow accepted procedure. I know for sure that Zen do.
  • by Rimbo (139781) <rimbosity.sbcglobal@net> on Sunday November 25, 2007 @07:49PM (#21474337) Homepage Journal
    In fact, come to think of it, the entire article summary is built in a certain way:

    1. Mention of Google Apps, a product that competes with Microsoft.

    2. Mention of something being "broken."

    A couple of important notes about that:

    2.1. The thing with a potential issue, E-mail sending, has nothing to do with Google Apps, however it's mentioned to create a negative association with them.

    2.2. The potential issue is exaggeration to the point of idiocy. Nothing actually gets broken; you just have to change a certain setting on a certain date, and if you don't, it's not like your house catches fire or anything. OR MAYBE IT DOES?!?!?! WHO CAN BE SURE?

    And then, the coup de grace:

    3. Mention of a Microsoft proprietary technology as a solution.

    And of course, can't let that go by without adding:

    3.1. A technology that forces everyone into vendor lock-in with the Microsoft Way Of Doing Things, and
    3.2. A cure that is far worse than a disease, a technology that opens your system up to all kinds of hacks and attacks for the sake of preventing something that Grandma can easily be walked through fixing. (If you don't believe me, look at all the Grandmas who are walked through setting up their Email by Apple tech help and Evolution e-mail wizards every day.)

    In other words, ladies and gentlemen, the summary above has all the hallmarks of a professionally-written Microsoft FUD-job.

    Someone was paid to write this article and submit it to Slashdot so that all of our geeky eyes can see it and wonder, "Oh, the horrors of Google Apps! They should have gone with Microsoft," when not only do Google Apps have nothing to do with the problem, the problem itself would have been made worse by the proposed solution.

    And they would have gotten away with it if it hadn't 've been for you kids!

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