Microsoft has launched a new privacy touting campaign accusing Google of "bad advertising practices" on Gmail, according to a February 7, 2013 Washington Post news article by Hayley Tsukayama, "Microsoft hits Google with e-mail privacy campaign." Competition between Google and Microsoft is growing to see who is bigger and more dominant. Microsoft's goal is to promote it's Outlook.com mail service, a relaunched version of Hotmail.
The problem with email users is they are tired of companies monetizing email privacy with ads but still want their free email. But it's the advertisers that pay the expenses to provide free email to Internet users of software made by Microsoft or Google.
The problem for email users is that Microsoft uses personal information users provide, as well as users’ search histories, to serve ads of its own. The same issue appears to continue over and over when it comes to Google or Microsoft using search histories and personal information to customize advertising that users of either or both software have. Check out the article, "Microsoft attacks Google in hopes of getting more Outlook users."
Also, Dell Inc. announced on February 5, 2013 that it will be taken private in a deal valued at about $24.4 billion. The company will be acquired by Dell founder and Chief Executive Michael S. Dell and global technology investment firm Silver Lake, and Microsoft Corp. will invest $2 billion in the deal.
Most email users don't like the idea of major email service providers currently scanning the content of their personal emails in order to help target the online advertisements they show to people. But in order to keep getting free email, ads have to be sold by the major email providers.
The big problem is since, no human is being paid to read each of the millions of email messages sent each minute nationally or even globally, what's scanning your personal free email and sending you ads based on what letters you write about your plans to travel to an area or buy a product? Is it an algorithm, a robot, or a software information gathering machine? And is the information being used other than targeting ads to your website browsing history?
"Scroogled for Google," is a phrase Microsoft throws to users of Gmail: Using algorithms to scan Gmail users' messages to tailor ads to the information mentioned in the email
What Microsoft throws at Google is a phrase 'scroogled' for Google, as if to tell users of Google email that they have been scammed, screwed or scrooged, or in some way using one of the 's' words used to mean 'scammed,' 'suckered,' 'screwed' (messed up) or 'stooged' (victimized and possibly humiliated) by Gmail. So to imply by using the 's' word substituting for the 'g' in Google. Are users actually disrespected when ads pop up based on what they wrote in private emails sent to family or friends?
What the accusations by Microsoft against Google point to is the use of algorithms by Google to scam Gmail users. But doesn't Microsoft use a similar way of using advertising tailored to the websites searched or personal information of Microsoft users? The use of the 's' words is similar to the way comics use the 's' sound in comedy writing to create a sense of humor or surprise by the 'funny' sound of words beginning with 's' or 'g' or 'k.'
The 'scroogled' combination of 'scammed' with 'Google' used by Microsoft is about accusing Google of pulling the wool over your eyes. And you're not only the 'stooge' or the 'suckered' but to get at the point more in depth, you're the shlemiel, and Google is the shlemazel, to use the Semitic word for the scammer, which is the shlemiel, and the victim or the sucker (one is born every minute), is the shlemazel, the person who is the receiver of the result of the shlemiel's act. These 's' sounds are the same used by old time radio and 1950s-style TV humor writers for stand-up comics, where humor is created by the sounds that come in groups of three and use those most laugh-generating sounds which include 's,' 'sh,' 'g,' and most frequently 'k.'
Scroogled also could stand for a stronger word: You're the schmuck....the easy mark, the target....because your private email is being read by an algorithm....And whatever you say to your friends about your planned trip to a certain city, now has been used to send you an advertisement for hotels in that city you mentioned privately in your sent email to someone. But most likely the 's' in 'scroogled' means scammed by Google in its implication or intent as used by Microsoft. Whatever word you use in any language, the point is the same: in order to pay expenses that cover your free email, you must get ads on your email inbox sites.
So your privacy is up for deep thought. It's not a human. It's an algorithm that reads your personal email and uses it to send you ads that seem to pop up....Then you ask, how did the advertisers know that much about what you wrote and sent or where you browsed even if you cleared your browsing history and asked not to be tracked...but you're still getting free email?
You could always pay for premium email and keep the ads off. A recent survey shows that most people online don't want to pay for email or people that need to use email the most to search for an income can't afford to pay for private email. It's similar to those online radio stations that keep interrupting the show to broadcast ads that stop the music in the middle. Only no one is stopping you in the middle from writing and sending your email to send you a surprise pop-up ad. The annoying ads are the ones with voice or video that interrupt your train of thought as you are writing.
Signing into Microsoft each time you want to get your email
Otherwise why would you be asked to sign into (optional) Microsoft email each time you want to look at your email from a variety of email addresses, either from Microsoft or your Gmail account -- if you're using Windows Live Mail Essentials, but not if you sign directly into Gmail on the Google website? Of course, you do have the option not to sign in, if you hesitate and don't do what you're told to do--sign in to your Microsoft email account to look at your email from other email providers.
You don't have to sign in to Microsoft to look at your Gmail or your Yahoo mail either, unless you want to first sign in to your Microsoft email account and then look at all your other email accounts with different providers. When Microsoft uses the word 'Scroogled,' in its campaign, it accuses Google of using algorithms to scan Gmail users’ messages and serve ads based on the keywords they find there. This is a favorite target of Microsoft, which has criticized Google for the same practices in the past, according to the Washington Post article.
The Microsoft-commissioned study of how consumers feel about seeing advertising based on their personal inboxes of email
Read the original GfK Roper study on e-mail privacy commissioned by Microsoft, February 1-4, 2013. Most email users may not want ads based on their private email inboxes. Email should be private. Would you want letters to your grandkids exploited and used to send you ads related to what's in your email? The study of 1,006 participants fromGfK Roper Public Affairs and Media revealed that 89 percent surveyed said that they do not think that e-mail services providers should be allowed to scan the content of personal e-mail in order to target advertising.
Also check out another article (PDF format), GfK Roper Consumer Styles - Intomart GfK. For email users, the survey participants were more in the age 18-34 group, said to be most likely to use email. But has anyone asked the age 70-90+ age group using email to communicate with grandchildren living on the opposite coast who can't afford to visit frequently?
And the middle-aged Boomer group seems to have been in the minority if not left out. What happens when and if surveys skew participants too much in the age 18-34 category when it comes to privacy and email use? That group includes students, the dating scene crowd, and the newly married and staring a family demographic.
If Google has been scanning e-mails with advertising algorithms since the beginning of the service, and users know it because Google has made its practices clear, then is Microsoft beating a dead horse as far as what information about email users already know? After all, if you don't sign in to Google and stay signed it, it's more difficult to track what websites you want to search out of curiosity. Then again, if you use a private search engine that uses Google such as SmartPage, your information, the website notes, won't be tracked.
You can get rid of ads on your Google sites if you shell out $50 to Google for its professional version of Web mail. It's the same with Microsoft. You can pay $20 to get the ads taken off your email inboxes. Somebody has to pay for email services, if you're getting email free. And as far as Google or Microsoft, the free email service uses advertising to cover the expense/cost of your free email. Basically, ads have to be on your email site if you get free email from Google or Microsoft.
No person is reading all your email to decide what ads to send to your email website pages. It's an algorithm.
What readers need to know is that there is no person paid to read your email and decide what ads to post on your email or other sites. It seems you're tracked automatically by software. For example, if you click on one site advertising shoes, boots, or a certain type of radio, for weeks or even months you are bound to see ads selling that product pop up on various websites you go to or your email, unless you erase your previous history of browsing.
Also, if you buy a book on Amazon.com, you'll soon see a history of all the books and products you've browsed, unless you turn off browsing after you clear your past browsing history. It appears that wherever you go online, there's always someone eager, even desperate to sell you something.
It's similar to going to the dentist for a cleaning, and finding nothing wrong with your teeth, the dentist's bookkeeper asks your insurance company to authorize expensive crown and bridge work, even though you can live with one missing tooth in the back and don't want to spend thousands of dollars for more work that's not needed. The idea of email has become, like many other services, about selling you some product or service every time you browse the web or use email. Also see the article, "Google asks: How much is mapping worth?"
Monetizing email versus consumer online privacy protection
Email users don't like the idea of various email services using the same algorithms used to find spam given another job of targeting ads to place on your email website. It's the opposite of what people want most, offering consumer protection.
Algorithms in the first place were invented to protect consumers from spam and all types of unwanted junk mail jamming their inboxes, since free email gives each user only a limited amount of space. And the junk mail soon fills up that space if not regularly deleted by the user. Some services empty the junk mail folder every few months or sooner if the person selects that spam option, and other services don't, and the user has to delete their own spam into the trash box and then empty the trash box if the service provider of email doesn't empty trash boxes every few months, if there's an option to set how frequently you want the trash emptied.
On its Scroogled campaign site, Microsoft is gathering signatures for a petition titled “Tell Google to stop going through your ads.” But Microsoft still has not told customers what it will do with the petition. The goal is to obtain 25,000 signatures. As of this afternoon, it had just over 800, according to the February 7, 2013 Washington Post article. Also see the article, "Google’s changes to mobile advertising could fix company’s major problem."
Most consumers don't have the time or the patience to read the terms of service. The result is you keep on seeing ads for hotels in the same city to which you just sent private email to a friend or relative about an upcoming trip. It looks just like someone read your email and is sending your email website inbox ads for hotels in the city you're planning to visit. Just who is reading your email? It's not a human being. Your alternative at this time is to pay for email, for example, the various professional or premium services if you want privacy.
If you don't care what ads are sent to your websites, keep the free email. After all, nobody is billing you. Just don't click on any ads if you don't want to consider buying the product offered. Whether you click on the ads or not, Microsoft or Google is still charging the business advertising on your site. So as a customer, at least you get free email with the ad. Check out the site, "Microsoft says it disrupted cybercrime botnet that hijacked hundreds of thousands of PCs."
After all, you don't have to click on anything when you see a TV commercial with a website or phone number to call. In the final decision, you, the customer still have control over what you want to buy or can afford. For the rest of us very low-income nondrivers in the 71+ -90+ age range online who also may live below the poverty line and need to order groceries and clothing online due to low mobility, you still don't have to buy anything to get free email. Just enjoy the ads. And check out the original, primary source of the latest survey, the GfK Email Privacy Report.