The digital war between giants Microsoft and Google continues with the latest announcement from Microsoft. Now they will be targeting Gmail for its practice of scanning users’ personal messages in order to tailor ads in the new Don’t Get Scroogled campaign.
Asking users to sign a petition, Microsoft has launched a national campaign across the United States against Google and its email privacy. The software giant tries to convince users to leave Gmail and join their own Outlook.com by saying Google goes through the contents of all personal messages to sell and target advertisements. While at the same time, the alternative Outlook prioritizes privacy. This isn’t the first time Microsoft attacks Google, last November they called out Google Shopping with a Scroogled campaign, but apparently it wasn’t successful enough, because the company is back with a new offensive.
This time, the world’s largest software provider cites data from consumer survey showing users’ concern about their privacy. Microsoft conducted their own survey which included more than 1,000 adults in the United States. For the period between February 1 and February 4, the participants answered questions about email services that target ads based on the content of your email. The results showed that 70% of Americans didn’t know or didn’t believe whether a major email provider scanned the content of personal emails for targeting ads. 88% of users disapproved of such a practice, and 52% disapproved strongly. 89% of Americans agreed that this evil practice should not be allowed.
In fact, Gmail is the only major email service provider that ignores privacy and checks the personal message in order to sell and target ads. And the results of this poll show large consumer disapproval supposedly about what Google and Gmail do, but as everybody could have guessed many of the questions were contradictory and confusing. There are many comments about how objective and fair the poll was, or wasn’t, and for a lot of people the whole campaign looks more amusing than actually achieving something.
In a Wednesday statement Google replied that it is advertising that keeps the company’s websites and services free of charge. They read your email, but this happens by an automated algorithm similar to those that it’s used by spam filters. Nobody is actually reading your message. Well, statistics clearly show consumers’ attitude – last year Gmail almost caught up Yahoo as the N. 1 free email provider in the United States with 69.1 million users compared to Yahoo’s 76.7 million. Microsoft was third. Their alternative, Outlook.com email service will eventually replace the Hotmail, according to Microsoft. It features option that allows users to turn off ads, and therefore maintain their privacy. This however, will cost you $20 per year.