New Microsoft Ad Takes on Google For Creeping Your Inbox
Is Google reading that very personal Valentine’s Day email you just sent your sweetie to place a strategically targeted ad? Are they reading your other personal emails like some giant creeper? The short answer is yes and Microsoft is highlighting that extremely creepy practice in their new video promoting their email service. Check it out:
We shouldn’t be surprised though, Google has been playing to role of creeper since around 2004. From ABC:
Google has fed ads to users, based on what it sees in their inboxes, since 2004. “If you’ve recently received a lot of messages about photography or cameras, a deal from a local camera store might be interesting,” Google says on its “Ads in Gmail” page. The ad targeting is automated (a Google employee isn’t sitting there reading your emails).
Google, reached by ABC News, said its advertising allows many of its services to be free. “Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge,” Samantha Smith, a Google spokesperson, told ABC News. “We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant.”
Even though Google says your emails aren’t being read by an individual, I still find the whole idea of them being able to do that unsettling. I mean, where does that end? What else might they be scanning for now or in the future? I guess I just feel like my inbox should be, ya know, my inbox and not available to for Google to peep in on with whatever they use.
Listen, I get that companies need to advertise to run a service that so many people use for free, but I am just not sure that they should be allowed to see what’s in your email. I also understand that when you sign up for a service, you must first agree to their rules, but this just feels a little too intrusive to me. Placing ads in emails is fine, but scanning, reading, or checking them to target ads specific to actual email content strikes me as a bridge too far.