Microsoft is at it again! New campaign targets Google's email scanning

Microsoft is at it again! New campaign targets Google's email scanning

Microsoft is no stranger to trying to stick the knife into the competition, and the company's latest campaign, Keep Your Email Private, is no different. This is not just an ad campaign, but rather an entire microsite that has been set up to demonstrate how much better Outlook.com is than Gmail. The reason? There is only really one put forward for consideration -- Google's scanning of emails.

This in itself is nothing new. We have known for a long time that Google scans the content of emails with a view to delivering targeted ads. It’s not something that everyone is happy with, but we know all about it, and if you don’t like it, you're free to move away from Gmail. But Microsoft is now exploiting this fact in a bid to attract people to Outlook.com.

Unlike Gmail, Outlook.com keeps your privacy private. You won’t see ads based on keywords from your personal email. Your email is nobody else's business. But Google makes it their business. Even if you’re not a Gmail user, Google still goes through your personal email sent to Gmail and uses the content to sell ads.

There is a little '"infomercial" in which Microsoft explains how Gmail's scanning works -- except it doesn't really make it clear that the scanning is anonymized and private data is not revealed to any third party.

Microsoft explains Google's email scanning:

There are lots of statistics quoted about how much people dislike the idea of email scanning (http://www.keepyouremailprivate.com/GetTheFacts) as well as the ubiquitous petition which visitors are invited to use to voice their disapproval.

There's also a suitably amusing advert to help drive home the idea of personal privacy.

Are these tactics underhanded, or has Google left itself open to this sort of criticism? What's your view?

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