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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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RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By NellyFromMA on 2/7/2013 12:28:58 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I feel eager to research whether or not what you think is a fact but ad supported is a far cry from personalized ads based on email contents.

Could be true, but that alone is not enough at all.

Ad supported means an ad is displayed and its revenue supports the service directly or indirectly.

Finally, it is a privacy concern whenever anything you do is aggregated and used without your opt-in. They are my actions.

Maybe people should start aggregating there own non-identifying info and sell it to third parties instead. Might patent that idea actually.

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By Reclaimer77 on 2/7/13, Rating: -1
By ianweck on 2/8/2013 11:16:24 AM , Rating: 2
I use gmail and I like it. I just read through their privacy page for the first time:

I don't see anywhere in there about scanning my email and using the results for ads. Sure, there is a lot mentioned about collecting various information for ad purposes but nothing specifically related to scanning my emails. So by using their service I'm opting in for these scans? Not sure about that. I think the whole point from Microsoft is that they are doing these scans covertly evidently. Also I can't opt out if I wanted to, not using there services notwithstanding.

Interestingly, their Prohibited actions page lists data mining to find email addresses as prohibited by the user, although it's ok to data mine emails for ad purposes by them. There are a lot of double standards like this one in these EULA-type pages if one cares to find them.

One last one, from the legal notices page:

"Google does not claim any ownership in any of the content, including any text, data, information, images, photographs, music, sound, video, or other material, that you upload, transmit or store in your Gmail account. We will not use any of your content for any purpose except to provide you with the Service."

You can probably read that one either way, yes we can scan your emails or no we won't scan them.

I like gmail and will continue to use it, although I would have liked to have known about these scans from the start. I don't think just because my data rests on someone else's server that they have the right to comb through that data.
My 2 cents.

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By nafhan on 2/7/13, Rating: 0
RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By Flunk on 2/7/2013 1:04:49 PM , Rating: 4
Where can I find these "squirrel slippers"?

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By InsGadget on 2/7/2013 1:24:35 PM , Rating: 3
Where is it stated that MS know what's in your email?

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By GotThumbs on 2/7/13, Rating: 0
By nikon133 on 2/7/2013 3:41:48 PM , Rating: 3
Of course they have access.

But are they taking advantage of it, remains to be seen.

MS tossed a gauntlet by accusing Google to actually analyse emails and target adds based on emails content. Google will retaliate, if they find any ground to do so.

By inighthawki on 2/7/2013 3:41:36 PM , Rating: 4
You do realize that simply being on their servers does not mean they go through and read/analyze them, right?

By nafhan on 2/7/2013 1:55:48 PM , Rating: 2
Do you use an MS webmail service?
If you answered yes to that, they know* what's in your email. To be clear, I'm not sure what you mean by know, but in this context I would define know as "have that info stored and readily accessible".

RE: Advertising facts is not smearing...
By nikon133 on 2/7/2013 3:17:41 PM , Rating: 4
I tend to have more trust in Microsoft.

Not because they say Google scans your emails and they don't.

But because Google lives from advertising, and everything they do is, in a way, bent around advertising.

Microsoft's bread & butter is selling software. Advertising is not their priority, so I think there's more chance that they do keep my emails private. They also play catch up, so they might be trying harder.

Also... I live in Windows ecosystem. I already use SkyDrive and other MS services (Skype, Messenger...). It is kind of natural for me.

Finally and completely personally, I prefer the look of web portal to Gmail.

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