Microsoft are gunning for Google in a high profile campaign urging Gmail users to switch to Outlook.com over privacy concerns.
Their national campaign which they are calling ‘Don’t get scroogled by Gmail’ is based around the point that Google scan user emails to determine relevant advertisements to place alongside the messages.
Microsoft say they commissioned a study and found that 70 percent of consumers polled were unaware that the major email providers ‘routinely’ read people’s emails to sell ads and that almost 90 percent of people disapproved of the system.
Stefan Weitz, senior director of Online Services at Microsoft said in a statement “Outlook.com believes your privacy is not for sale. We believe people should have choice and control over their private email messages, whether they are sharing banking information or pictures of their family or discussing their medical history.
This is the latest attack on Google by Microsoft. Although the concerns over Gmail have been long standing. The service was launched in 2004 and many claimed at the time that it was a invasion into Internet user’s privacy. Many experts felt that it should be illegal for a company to scan the text of their customer’s email content and display related advertising. The problems have led to lawsuits against Google in the past.
Google have said however that their scanned technology is automated and individuals are not reading users emails, invading their privacy.
Google issued a statement “Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge. We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant. No humans read your email or Google account information in order to show you advertisements or related information.”
Gmail is immensely popular, according to ComScore in October 2012 Gmail had 69.1 million users, second only to Yahoo’s 76.7 million. Microsoft Hotmail was holding 35.5 million at the time. Microsoft are phasing out Hotmail, focusing on a rebranded Outlook.com.
Kitguru says: Microsoft detail they only scan contents of user emails to protect against spam, malware and other malicious activity.