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Microsoft's Scroogled campaign  (Source: CNN)
The campaign tells email users that Google scans all sent and received emails for advertisement keywords

Microsoft is taking a serious jab at Google's Gmail service in a new campaign called "Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail."

Microsoft's "Scroogled" campaign is an effort to draw new customers to its own email service, Outlook -- and plans to do so by informing Internet users nationwide of Gmail's practices.

Microsoft is telling the nation that Google scans each email that is sent and received through the Gmail service for keywords that can help it target users with more accurate advertisements. Microsoft even commissioned a study, conducted by GfK Roper, where 70 percent of users were unaware of Google's email scanning and 88 percent disapproved of it once they knew.

“Emails are personal — and people feel that reading through their emails to sell ads is out of bounds,” said Stefan Weitz, senior director of Online Services at Microsoft. “We honor the privacy of our users, and we are concerned that Google violates that privacy every time an user exchanges messages with someone on Gmail. This campaign is as much about protecting users from Gmail as it is about making sure Gmail users know what Google’s doing.”

Microsoft will spread the news and its new word "Scroogled" all over TV, Internet and print advertisements. It even launched a petition to stop going through user emails for the sake of ad sales, where it has received nearly 600 signatures of the required 25,000 at the time this article was written.

Microsoft was even nice enough to offer a few examples of Google's practices.

"For example, if you write a friend to let her know you are separating from your husband, Google sells ads against this information to divorce lawyers, who post ads alongside it," said Microsoft. "Or if you ask a friend for vacation suggestions, Google uses this information to target you with ads from travel agencies or airlines that want your business."

There has been some tension between the two tech companies, as Microsoft cried "antitrust" over a YouTube snub last month. More specifically, the Redmond, Wash. tech giant was upset that Windows Phone still could not get a full YouTube app while the competition (Android and iOS) were able. It added that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was not doing enough to force Google to conform to antitrust laws (Google got out of a two-year FTC investigation with only a slap on the wrist). 

Also, Google had filed a patent claim with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against Microsoft that would stop the Windows giant from applying video compression technology to the Xbox video game console. While it dropped this patent claim against Microsoft last month, others are still pending. 

You can check out Scroogled here.

Source: Microsoft

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predatory advertising
By Nortel on 2/7/2013 11:38:57 AM , Rating: 1
I tested this myself by sending test emails with "hockey stick" over and over and bam, ads about hockey crap.

Google offers tons of free services and products but at the end of the day they are all used to push ads. Don't like it? The easy answer is to not use google search, gmail, android, finance, translate, Chrome, DNS servers, etc... Problem is most users have no idea Google is even collecting your data to use it against you.

RE: predatory advertising
By synoptic12 on 2/7/2013 12:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
We believe that the adept are aware of the ads.

RE: predatory advertising
By NellyFromMA on 2/7/2013 12:33:28 PM , Rating: 2
The adept? That runs counter to the entire point which is that (for lack of a better term) the non-adept tend to not know by a large margin.

RE: predatory advertising
By synoptic12 on 2/7/2013 1:17:21 PM , Rating: 2
† Your demeanor is somewhat precocious, as your bitterness is most visible. We urge that you seek knowledge before attaining wisdom.

RE: predatory advertising
By nafhan on 2/7/2013 12:36:00 PM , Rating: 3
Google is collecting your data because it's going through their servers. Pushing you ads (at least the type that show up in Gmail) doesn't impact your privacy any more than if they just stored your old emails on their servers.
Don't like it? The easy answer is to not use google search, gmail, android, finance, translate, Chrome, DNS servers, etc.
Also, make sure not to use any "free" web service, and avoid most of the paid ones as well. In some cases, you will need to roll your own web services and definitely put the time into knowing what you are doing if you really want your stuff to be completely "private" online.

Don't take the above to mean that I'm a big fan of current online privacy practices, but singling out Google is a bit disingenuous. I'd actually trust Google more than many of the other "free service" vendors. They have a better than average track record regarding protecting user info from third parties.

RE: predatory advertising
By Breakfast Susej on 2/7/2013 2:45:38 PM , Rating: 2
The ad's don't bother me much, because I adblock everything I can, and make a concious effort to ignore what isn't blocked.

One thing that does annoy me is the youtube suggestion videos. I clicked a link to some random video from one of Gordon Ramsays cooking / stupidity programs and after that it was like the bloody Gordon Ramsay extravaganza. I could be watching a video about the merits of the wonder bra and Gordon Ramsay videos were popping up in the suggestions area for ages.

RE: predatory advertising
By ResStellarum on 2/8/2013 12:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that was annoying me too. Fortunately, there are greasemonkey scripts on that take care of that.

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