Google Apps for Domains Having Serious Issues

Many people, including myself, seem to be having major issues with Google Apps for domains at the moment; starting last Friday (7th), my Nexus One logged itself out of Google Talk and refused to log back in, the Pidgin IM client on my desktop did the same and even the Google Talk client is showing the same symptoms.

In addition, the problem appears to affect Gmail notifications on my phone (I’m having to manually refresh it to sync changes to my mailbox) and I can’t download anything from the Android Marketplace. In the last few hours the problem seems to have spread to Gmail itself and I can no longer log into Google Talk through my inbox either.

The problem appears to have coincided with the changes made by Google to reintegrate the domain for UK-based users (due to a prior legal challenge many UK users had to make do with a address), which could simply be a coincidence, but either way it’s a massive PITA.

Some users have tried factory resets of their phones, removing and re-adding Google Apps features to their domains and even creating new Gmail accounts and re-associating their various services with them so as to make them accessible via their phones, though this isn’t recommended as it has some nasty side-effects such as making you re-buy any purchased Marketplace Apps.

The worst part of it all is that Google appear to be silent on the matter; there are a large number of threads on their support forums now covering most of the issues (with varying degrees of literacy and general coherence) but no official (or unofficial) word on what the cause of the problem might be and/or what the outlook is with regards to a fix.

Update – 12/05/2010: Well, after 5 days without Google Talk (and therefore without “push” email and the Android market), full service has been restored; to me at least. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen again any time soon.

On DRM And The Future of PC Games

Much has been made in the last couple of days of the fact that warez scene group Skidrow have “cracked” Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed 2, however, this isn’t really a crack of the DRM at all, it simply internalises the server emulation that non-scene groups had already put together so it’s not as much hassle to play.

That said, ultimately you can’t crack Ubisoft’s new DRM any more than you can “crack” World of Warcraft; they are serving parts of the game from their servers and unless you either obtain a copy of that data and emulate the server (which isn’t really a crack) you can’t get around it. It’s not as simple as just bypassing a CD check or setting a function to always return true, they’re actually shipping a partial game and as long as their customers will bear it (although given their awful server uptime they’re not helping themselves out) they’ll keep doing it and probably push it even further.

Once games move into the SAAS realm you can say goodbye to owning *any* part of a game you “buy” as all you’ll have is the MMO-esque client application and everything else will be delivered over the wire, doubtless with “Premium” subscriptions available if you want priority access to the game servers to minimize lag & waiting time before you can play.

I think we can all agree that this is a really bad place for PC games to be headed.