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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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Truth, and does it matter?
By pfloyd09 on 2/7/2013 12:20:49 PM , Rating: 3
There is a difference between a human READING your emails, and an algorithm SCANNING your emails. If a human were actually reading my Gmail messages, I may actually care about this, but this is not the case.

Google is able to provide a tremendous amount of 'FREE' services to the public via advertising. They have NEVER been deceptive about this, and they are indeed up-front about their practices, they just don't take out multi-page spreads in your local newspaper to advertise it. Why would they? Who else does something like this, except Microsoft, who only does it to 'smear' other companies because their products don't stand on their own merits.

If you are concerned about your 'privacy', then stop using the internet! Nothing on the internet is truly private, get over it.

RE: Truth, and does it matter?
By synoptic12 on 2/7/2013 12:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
† Every 'key' is recorded. Very good synopsis.

RE: Truth, and does it matter?
By Wererat on 2/7/2013 12:58:11 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, the solution, if one cares about being used by a company whose livelihood is to aggregate data about people, is to not use their services.

I am a gmail user and will continue to be one; I'm *also* an user and will continue to be one.

I wouldn't want to tie myself entirely to one company's ecosystem these days. I don't think it's wise to let any one organization, private or public, have a complete picture of an individual through its data collection.

Recall that Google caved to the PRC on censorship, so we know that they'd do so to other governments' pressure. Not that any other corporation has done differently, but keep this in context; Google's whole system is all about knowing everything about your electronic life.

If power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, then consider: these days, information is power.

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