Micosoft CVP of Communications, Frank X. Shaw in his follow up post on February 2 (about a series of ads that the Redmond company has placed in some major newspapers in the U.S. this week slamming Google’s recently announced changes to their products and policies) underlines Google’s practices when it comes to users’ emails and messages.
Shaw in the post notes, “Google has been trying to characterize them as “simpler,” “easier” and “more consistent.” And finally, they keep trying to assert that they haven’t made it any harder to control what gets collected about you. Outside of the Plex, that is simply not true. Unless you want to sign out of your mail service every time you do a search, or watch a video.”
Adding further he writes, “With using Hotmail or Office 365. We’re not using the contents of your mail to deliver ads, nor do we change your search results based on your email content. And because you’re not logged into Gmail, the videos you view on YouTube remain known only to you.”
As they did yesterday, Google is going to continue to muddy the water here by saying that they offer a variety of privacy controls, and you can use “as much or as little Google as you’d like.” If you are willing to:
“1. Endure the headache of creating and managing multiple dummy accounts
2. Use separate browsers to segregate your communications, social, and video log-ins
3. Sign in and out of your accounts throughout the day to de-couple specific activities as needed. Or, you can simply switch to Hotmail or Office 365,” Shaw quoted as saying.
The bottom line is that there is no privacy when using Gmail.
Here a few reasons that Shaw offered in the post:
- Some email services, like Gmail, actually read the contents of your mail (both sent and received, even if you aren’t a Gmail user but just sending to someone who is) in order to decide what kind of ads to serve up to you. They may call it “scanning” and attempt to equate it with less invasive activities like “checking for spam” but it’s quite different. For you, and the people you send mail to, it’s not spam, it’s personal.
- Further, people tend to stay logged into their email service throughout the day. So all Internet searches you do with Google become tied to that same identity.
- Finally, whenever your Gmail account is logged in, videos you watch on YouTube get connected into that same profile. And it’s worth noting that while Google has recently claimed they “aren’t doing anything new,” it’s clear from their letter to Congress that their new policy allows them to cross-index your YouTube viewing information with your Google search behavior (something their policies explicitly prevented them from doing until these changes).
Microsoft also released a YouTube video, featuring the “Gmail Man”, doing much the same thing: