*Warning* This blog entry contains another one of my rants. For once it is not about the blasted shipping company who have still not delivered our possessions or about the Social Security Department who have delivered SSN cards to four of us when five of us need them and who hang up on me every time I phone. Every. Single. Time. This is a rant on a new topic.
It’s a small world; the world is a global village; citizen of the world. Technology may indeed be making it easier for people around the world to connect to each other but that does not mean that the world is capable of understanding that people move around the globe. The irony is that it is one of the very companies who have apparently shrunk our globe who have invited my ire today. Google, I am displeased.
A number of years ago, I created a YouTube channel whereby I could share short videos of my kids to share with far-flung family and friends. As the years have gone by, my kids have somewhat hijacked it as a means of sharing the video movies they make – live action superhero movies, parodies of classic monster movies and lego stop-go animations. So my YouTube channel just tootled along nicely with the occasional upload.
Today I wanted to upload a new video, one of my kids playing in the snow. YouTube was apparently freaked out by the fact I was trying to access my channel from a location it did not recognise and grassed me up to Google who informed me that they had prevented me accessing my account because they suspected my account had been breached. So, because I have moved from one side of the Atlantic to the other but want to maintain all of my online accounts, these websites had a conniption and locked me out of my account. I was annoyed, yes, but I understood. We have to protect against hackers and all that jazz. Well done for being super-vigilant. Now I just have to inform them that the hacking attempt was in fact me trying to gain access to my own accounts. Simple, right?
You already know the answer because I warned you that this was a rant. No. It was not simple. It was a labyrinth designed by Kafka on an endless loop of escalating frustration.
I was prompted to enter my Google password so that I can access all my accounts in the Google family. Eh, what? I didn’t know I had a Google account. I signed up to YouTube before it was part of the Google family and, as far as I could recollect anyway, I had never been prompted to set up a Google account. A couple of attempts at using my YouTube sign in details and I was informed I needed to verify my account since I had clearly forgotten my user name and / or password. To verify my account I needed to provide a code that would be sent to a phone number ending in two specified digits. It took me a few beats to realise that the phone number it was referring to was my UK mobile phone. I wasn’t sure if my UK mobile would even work in the US for the purpose of receiving a code so I chose to click to skip that option and try verifying another way. This was where it got really stupid. It wanted to know exactly when I had opened my Google account – down to the day – and when I had last accessed my Google account and when I had last logged in to other members of the Google family. Since I had no recollection of ever having set up a Google account, what were the chances I would recall the exact date when I registered and since I don’t have an account with any other member of the ruddy Google family that was not going to work. I gave it all my best guesstimate and failed entirely to convince them that I was genuinely, sincerely and truly me.
So I tromped upstairs to find where I had stashed the UK mobile phone. Dead as a dodo, of course, so I had to first charge it – having found a converter plug for the socket – before it had enough life in it for me to switch it on. Thankfully I could access my phone book to obtain my mobile number (I’ve never memorised it) so I could tap that in and then it said it would send me a text message with a verification code. Would that work? I had no idea. I knew I had been able to receive text messages in continental Europe even when I could not make phone calls using a non-UK network but I didn’t know if that would apply on a whole other continent. So, while waiting for a text message to arrive, I decided to have a go at contacting Google to ask for their guidance as to how I was going to get around this problem. I could find Help pages – all of which were absolutely no help at all and just kept directing me through the same hoops of verifying the account over and over again – and I could find a forum – where none of the answers really offered any assistance – but I could not find a “Contact Us” option. In the end I used Google itself to search for how to contact Google and got a link to a forum where I could ask a question of someone who, I presume, actually worked for the company and might just possibly have a clue how I could get around this problem. Thankfully, part way through typing out my query, my UK mobile pinged. The text message had arrived and I could input the code and complete the verification process.
All of this palaver just to convince them that it was indeed me who was trying to log onto my account. Had they just contemplated the fact that people these days are capable of travel and might access their accounts from any point on the globe, they might just have streamlined their system and made it easier. I would suggest it might be wise to block access once someone has attempted a log in that has failed not just block them at the first attempt because their IP is pinging from a point in the world it has not previously pinged from. After all, these companies have encouraged us, through their technology, to keep in touch wherever we are. So why do they get so freaked out when we do just that?
This may seem like I am getting my knickers in a knot over something so trivial but the principle of it hacks me off for a start and this whole debacle with YouTube and Google today is just the straw on the camel’s back of having to deal time and time again with various organisations and companies who simply cannot wrap their heads around the fact that I have moved from one country to another and, therefore, need to amend my details, transfer accounts from .co.uk to .com or close my account altogether.
And, of course, my shipping consignment still has not arrived which means I am always just one annoyance away from a rant because I have that baseline rage simmering under the surface.
Today’s rant over and out.