A couple of months ago I left the Google cloud and I have been happily using my own
services since then. My mailserver runs well and apart from the odd email that
does not get through because the origin domain is a registered SPAM sender
according to one of the blacklist (happened to two emails so far) and one email
that was just way too big (15MB of photos). The synchronization of calendar
and my contacts works well with all my laptops, notebooks, desktops, and the
odd Android device. Many things actually got much better: I have (much) faster
search (and I can use boolean operators - yay!); offline support for email
finally works well enough to actually work; outgoing messages are signed; and
did I say that it's actually much faster?
The only thing left on Google was my Google scholar profile. Today I wanted to
move this final last piece and remove the Google Apps account for my old
domain. I felt that my own cloud was a much better substitution for the
services that Google offered and that I would not need to fall back to GApps.
So I went off to delete the account, believing that Google would be a good guy
like they promise and let me delete my account in an easy process.
First off, taking out all your data is a pain and you have to reserve at least
a couple of days if you want to pull a backup before deleting the account. The
Google takeout crashed several times (on the Google side), so all I got was a
non-descriptive error message that told me something failed on their side.
After the 4th or 5th try they managed to keep the job running long enough so
that I could pull the zip file - which I hopefully don't need but better one
backup too many than one too less.
Then I set off to delete the GApps account this morning, trying to follow their
suggestion on the forum (well, I actually tried figuring it out myself but
there are just too many confusing options - almost like the Facebook privacy
settings). So I logged into the admin portal and
tried to find the option to delete the GApps account for my domain.
The help page was actually way out of date and was written for the admin
console they had roughly around 2010, so none of the names they mentioned
existed any more. I kept searching for some time until I found that the gear
icon on the upper right showed "setup" as the only option. Well, it looks like
I have to setup this new console. So I clicked through the setup process
(trying to deselect as many services as I could). After going through the setup
process of the new console I had a second option under the gear icon that
allowed me to switch back to the old console view.
At this point in time it started to feel like one of these old point and click
adventures (e.g., Monkey Island or Myst) where you're trapped somewhere and you
need to fulfill a task. So I continued my journey.
I followed the help page (which is written for the old console view that you
can only activate if you go through the setup process for the new console view
that you'll only find if you click on the setup link when you open the gear
icon, modulo one or two logouts/logins). And I finally found the "delete this
But behold, the journey is not over yet. Because you actually cannot click on
this link. There is some text in small font that tells you that you have to
unsubscribe from GApps first, before you can delete the domain account (which
is not mentioned in the help). So I followed through to the next level and
unsubscribed my admin account (the only account left in the domain) from the
GApps services. This promptly dropped me to a couple of internal server error
pages and logged me out of the GApps admin panel.
When I signed in again (using the same login and password which tells me that
Google did not really delete my account), I had to agree to the Google EULA and
a couple of other things and solve a captcha. I like these mini games in
After successfully logging back into the admin console I was able to switch to
the classic view and navigate back to the delete this domain link. And lo and
behold this time the link was active and I was able to (hopefully?) delete the
admin account for the domain, and the domain account.
All in all, I have to say that this was one of the tougher adventures I had to
solve, especially as I expected an easier path. Looking back I should have
taken pictures for each step. I wonder what all the UI designers at Google do
all day long when their admin interfaces are so convoluted and crappy. But
well, maybe the just want you to have fun with their adventures and mini games.