“Gmail owns me,” I said to @andrewparker at a dinner last week. “They could extort so much money from me by threatening to turn off my account. I would probably pay $500 / mo to use all of my Google services.”
All Google’s tools have beautifully efficient UIs and make me much more productive, but really why I’m locked into Google is that every time I send an email or create a Gdoc, I’m investing time into these services, storing up value, and making the cost of switching higher. I’ve been saving value in my Gmail account since June of 2004 (!):
In theory, I could download everything to my laptop and store it locally instead, but I frankly don’t trust my hardware as much as Google’s server farms and well-engineered data redundancy.
During our conversation, @andrewparker mentioned to me that he had heard you get better support from Gmail—particularly if you get locked out of your account somehow—if you’re a paying user. I upgraded to Gmail paid storage the day after our conversation. I consider this buying Gmail Insurance. Even if there’s only a tiny chance that I get locked out of my Gmail or have another problem with my account and this tactic actually works, the $20/year is trivial compared to the amount of value I have stored in my Gmail.