Google and Apple, you ruined my daughter’s birthday!

Well, it wasn’t that bad, but it could have been. Anyway, this is a warning to anyone who uses Apple products of any kind and who uses gmail as their main mail.

Google has started putting email from Apple directly into the spam folder. On her birthday, I sent Julia an iTunes gift card. She is overseas, and this is something she can use there. It never arrived. I checked my Apple account and apparently it had been sent, but I never received the usual email telling me I had been charged for it.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. Google and Apple hate each other. I wondered if Google was messing with Apple. So, chatting with Julia via Facebook, I directed her to her Gmail spam folder, while I checked my own spam folder.

And there they were. Her gift certificate was in her spam folder, and my receipt was in my spam folder.

Go check your spam folder, people.

This is why things like Google need to be made into public utilities. The post office would not have done this to the poor little girl on her birthday.

This time it was Google fighting with Apple and we little people being the collateral damage. But Apple can do things like this as well. Integrating existing Google services in an iOS environment has been an uphill battle. Apple would be happier if you used their services rather than Google’s.

Why can’t we all just get along????

Comments

  1. #1 Michael Tomasson
    United States
    July 15, 2012

    So you can more easily find your gift cards, Google needs to be made into a public utility? Hahahahaha.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2012

    Michael, that would be funny if I had said that.

  3. #3 Jeremy Yoder
    Minneapolis
    July 15, 2012

    Actually, this is an expected (if sometimes inconvenient) result of Gmail’s adaptive spam filtering. If you delete or rapidly archive enough emails from a particular source, Gmail can decide they’re likely to be spam. And that’s the sort of thing one does with routine bills or receipts; it happened to the electronic bills from my gas company last month. But once I removed the not-spam e-mails from the spam folder, the filter re-adjusted.

  4. #4 Uwe Hauck
    Germany
    July 15, 2012

    Sorry, but this has nothing to do with google rather than with Spam filters nowadays often false categorizing any kind of certificates as Spam. I also had several such certificiates categorized as spam by two other Mail providers. Just mark them as ham and that is all. We can assume evil everywhere. But most of the times, the explanation is more simple and not that “evil”. Oh, and by the way. I actively categorize most of the mailings with electronic greeting cards or certificates as spam due to the fact, that those are some of the most often used mails for trojans and viruses.

  5. #5 starskeptic
    July 15, 2012

    “This is why things like Google need to be made into public utilities.”
    —I think you did

  6. #6 Mike Lewinski
    United States
    July 15, 2012

    Google has been going downhill for a while. Their Plus rollout screwed up Reader and made it less useful. Now I see they are killing off iGoogle and have killed off a number of other useful projects I miss (News trend graphs being a big one).

    I was ready to give Google my firstborn. For a while there was no stopping the torrent of Cool New Things from them.

    Yeah, self-driving cars will have benefits and I give them kudos for pushing some big ideas still. But my firstborn is off-limits until they fix Google Reader sharing.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2012

    Sorry, not buying it . The receipt I receive, maybe. But an “adaptive” filtering system managed and developed by the most advanced entity that does such things that ever exists that throws your money in the form of a gift certificate away is not a side effect of adaptive filtering. Probably .

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2012

    Also, I get a lot LOT of email from various sources that are useful to me only because of the headlines. I delete all of it right away . None of it has ever been declared spam. (Emily’s list, various Dem party stuff). I assume all you people have had chips implanted by Google. Right?

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2012

    starskeptic; I provide a link. The link is a think you click on and it …. oh hell, you know what a link is!

    My argument for things like Google and Amazon (not the book store, but the internet empire) would be better at public utilities is made at that link.

  10. #10 Jeremy Yoder
    Minneapolis
    July 15, 2012

    Well, if you’re going to start from the assumpiton that your e-mail program is a godlike entity in the cybercloud, then yes, this is clearly evidence that your e-mail program is a malevolent godlike entity in the cybercloud.

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2012

    That’s exactly what I thought. Which would not be a problem if there was only one god, but there are three or four and they fight.

  12. #12 Steve Dreiseszun
    July 15, 2012

    I’ve found that Gmail’s spam filtering algorithm to be much less reliable than before. It used to do a great job. Now, even when flagging an email as “not spam” it seems to have a mind of its own. Frankly, Gmail is fast becoming a PITA. Not sure if this is just another tug of war between Apple and Google (where the customer is always in the middle) but these issues are increasing. The latest for me is the lack of compatibility with Gmail and iCloud. BS.

  13. #13 Markk
    July 15, 2012

    I just tried this and it came through perfectly not into the Spam Filter. So you took one example that is not consistently true and tured it into a pretty severe accusation which I do not believe for a second – Apple would be all over Google in the media if that were true, and vice versa. I expect better of you.
    This sounded like something from Fox.

  14. #14 John Potts
    July 15, 2012

    Thank you for the information. After reading this article, I checked my spam folder.  I found seven email from Apple or iTunes – notice of upcoming automatic subscription renewals and receipts for purchases. All were after June 27. Such email reached my regular folder routinely previously. I did not archive or delete any such email recently, and probably for at least the last two years.

  15. #15 Jeremy
    July 15, 2012

    why cant they get along huh they cant because google is a good company who inovates through open sourcing most or all of their products where apple is a bunch of crooks with proprietary crap they charge at least double what their machines are worth and continually sue happy to all other tech firms in my honest opinion apple has only gotten to where they are because the average user is too dumb to learn a pc so they go with mac and start a road they dont even understand.

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2012

    John: Aha! See!?!??

  17. #17 Benton Jackson
    July 15, 2012

    I once accidentally clicked “spam” instead of “archive” on a whole page of emails, and suddenly most of my email was ending up in the spam folder. Took me a few days to figure that out.
    Maybe something like that has happened to you?

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2012

    Benton, I was wondering that as well and it certainly is a possibility. But, it isn’t just me. Also, the other “spam” in my gmail spam box is pretty spammy, so I think I’m OK in that regard.

  19. #19 F
    July 15, 2012

    Never use webmail. Turn off all filters at the webmail interface before leaving it forever. They suck.

    At least Google doesn’t seem to just disappear email from high-volume senders. Some ESPs, like Yahoo, do. Which can be annoying. Not that I intend to be an apologist for Google in any way. Not happening.

  20. #20 F
    July 15, 2012

    Pfft. Never mind that. Happy birthday to Julia!

  21. #21 Ken
    July 16, 2012

    Well, it can’t be the adaptive filter based upon my deletion of Apple receipts since I don’t delete my Apple receipts and it happened to me as well.

  22. #22 Chris
    July 16, 2012

    You use the US postal system as a shining example of efficientcey? Really the over bloated nearly bankrupt behemoth of bureaucratic disasters! Your’re right the USPS would not have done that, she probably would a have never gotten it and you would have had to plant a full month in advance to get it to her plus pay a whole lot more tha the price of the card. The government does nothing better or more efficient, they are a shining example of dysfunction in its purest form.

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2012

    Chris, you are repeating silly memes. The US postal service delivers most first class mail in one day from point a to point b for a few cents, two days top.

    The government does a lot of things “better” and “more efficient” than industry. What you are arguing simply isn’t true, you’ve provided no evidence, and you have either bought into an incorrect popular belief, uncritically, or for some reason (i.e., your own political bent?) you want others to do so.

  24. #24 James
    July 16, 2012

    I’ll comment that I use Gmail as my email service, and receive emails from Apple without problem.

    A few weeks ago, I bought an iPad3 at an Apple Store for my wife’s birthday, and got my email receipt from Apple. And got an email survey thing from Apple, asking about the sales experience.

    Most recently, I set up an appointment with a Genius, got an email confirmation of the time, an email reminder the morning of, and got another email survey the next day asking how things went at the appointment.

    I haven’t had problems reading Apple emails via Gmail. My guess is along the lines suggested by Benton.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2012

    Benton’s explanation does not explain these events. That didn’t happen. Also, it is not the case that either Gmail never spam-boxes anything it should not or does it all the time to Apple. Google usually does things here and there and in bits and pieces. Fact is, there is a handful of similar reports suggesting that apple email is suddenly getting spam-boxed by gmail when it was not before, without any explanation.

    It could be random; it is quite possible that gmail randomly goes bad on your inbox. Or it could be something being tried out or a bit nefarious. Either way, if you spend the money on an apple gift certificate via email, you better send the recipient a separate email telling them it has been sent so they will know to look in their spam folder.

    I’ve got iTunes related email in the spam folder going back to July 7th.

  26. #26 Eric Lund
    July 16, 2012

    I don’t have any direct experience with Gmail, but I recently noticed the following notice on the NASA proposal website (nspires dot nasaprs dot com):

    If you are using Gmail to receive emails sent from NSPIRES, there is a possibility that Gmail will flag these NSPIRES emails as spam and divert them to your Gmail junk folder. If you have not received an expected NSPIRES email, check your Gmail junk folder. NOTE: NSPIRES users at universities and colleges should pay particular attention to this issue.

    It appears that Gmail modified their spam filter algorithm sometime in late June, leading to stuff that formerly wasn’t flagged by the spam filter getting flagged as such. It doesn’t appear to have been intentionally aimed at Apple, since other stuff is being caught as well, but it serves as a reminder: Every now and then, be sure to check your spam folder for false positives.

    The NASA proposal site links to a PDF explaining how to ensure that the mail you get from them doesn’t fall into the Gmail spam filter. I would guess (but haven’t tried it myself, since this is not a problem for me) that a similar procedure would stop mail from Apple falling into the Gmail spam filter.

    Also for the record: I have occasionally had e-mail from Apple fall into the spam filter in Apple’s own Mail program. That includes Apple Store receipts.

  27. #27 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2012

    I’ve noticed some other stuff going into spam lately as well.

  28. #28 j a higginbotham
    July 16, 2012

    A while ago there was a version of Microsoft’s browser that wouldn’t let you go to Netscape’s home page and redirected to the MS site.

  29. #29 Greg Laden
    July 17, 2012

    Microsoft does this stuff all the time. Remember, they wanted the browser to be part of the system, they did everything they could to force people to use only that browser. Imagine if all Windows users were forced to use IE only.