Bob, a reader of Google Blogoscoped, announced yesterday that his Gmail account was deleted.
"The account you attempted to access has been deleted. You may click here to sign up for a new account." was the text of the error page.
The Gmail team investigated the issue, but couldn't find a solution.
Unfortunately, Bob used Gmail as his primary account and he didn't backup his mail.
So can you do to feel safe? Use a POP3 client, like Mozilla Thunderbird. You can even put Thunderbird on a USB drive to have your emails with you everywhere you go. Another idea is not to use Gmail as a primary mail account, but just as a way to collect emails forwarded from other accounts. Other alternatives: forward your mail from Gmail to other (Gmail) account or use Google Desktop to store and search your mail offline.
Read more: The mail Bob got from Gmail Support