Microsoft's latest Scroogled campaign goes after Gmail

By on February 8, 2013, 7:30 AM

Microsoft’s “Scroogled” campaign gained plenty of attention last year when it called out the search giant’s shopping tactics with regards to advertisements. Redmond is back on the offensive with yet another Scroogled campaign, this time taking aim at privacy concerns surrounding Gmail.

The latest national campaign is all part of a bigger plot to get users to switch from Gmail to Outlook.com by pointing out the fact that Google scans users’ e-mails to find relevant advertisements to place alongside messages. The company cites a recent survey which found 70 percent of those polled were unaware of such activity. Unsurprisingly, almost 90 percent did not approve of the practice.

In a statement on the matter, senior director of Online Services at Microsoft Stefan Weitz said Outlook.com believes that privacy is not for sale. He noted that people should have choice and control over their messages regardless of the topic. Sensitive information like medical history or banking credentials should not be combed through by an e-mail provider.

For their part, Google has maintained that they aren’t doing anything wrong by using automated technology to scan messages. The search giant said in a statement that advertising keeps Google and many websites and services they offer free. The company reiterates that no humans ever have access to e-mail messages or other account information with the intent of showing ads.

It’s worth pointing out that Outlook.com also scans uses’ e-mail messages but they only do so to search for spam and malware.




User Comments: 19

Got something to say? Post a comment
Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I didn't know Gmail did this?! Glad I'm not using it.

On a similar topic, would anyone here at techspot pay for Gmail (or any google service) to stop the ads from appearing and your emails from being scanned?

GuyDalziel GuyDalziel said:

This is hardly news. The whole point of the creation of gmail was to target advertisements towards users via keywords; if people haven't figured this out already then why should they be worrying about it now? Not respecting privacy would be to inform others of the content of your email, but that certainly isn't the case here.

ReederOnTheRun ReederOnTheRun said:

I don't get why anyone would be upset over this. Obviously, no humans are going through your emails. Google is a business that host a LOT of free services and even free internet to some people. They have to make money somehow.

Teko03 said:

I personally use outlook.com, slowly transitioning from my G-Mail account. MSFT againt is late at "getting it right" ". Great, clean, fast and spam free e-mail service.

MilwaukeeMike said:

This is really only bothersome because so many people didn't know it. But it really is a win-win situation. Think of the alternative... a monthly fee for email, a monthly fee for a social network, a monthly fee for Techspot?!

I'll take the ads with the free services over paying for stuff anyday.

Guest said:

Lame M$oft, just lame... and you aren't any different. XBox Live invades privacy so lets just sign a petition to STOP M$oft from invading our privacy.

wastedkill said:

Micro$oft really are pathetic google DOESN'T go through your email its a piece of specific software that searches for keywords that pop up a lot PLUS whats soo bad about getting the ads your interested in and not the viagra pill ads? I think its a win plus how can micro$oft say outlook.com is better? gmail is better in 1. interface, 2. spam prevention, 3 security and not only they google doesn't make pathetic sites and excuses like micro$oft does so I would rather go with googles services as they are a billion times more professional and better!

1 person liked this | Guest said:

I don't get why anyone would be upset over this. Obviously, no humans are going through your emails. Google is a business that host a LOT of free services and even free internet to some people. They have to make money somehow.

Exactly.

I have two Hotmail/Outlook and two gmail accounts. The Hotmail/Outlook do pretty much same what gmail does. When I read emails in Hotmail/Outlook and their ads will showing exactly match to my email's topic. Microsoft is just being childish and jealous, trying to steal users from gmail.

1 person liked this | Timonius Timonius said:

Alternatively, web hosting is very cheap these days. Get your own domain where you can pretty much determine your whole e-mail address before and after the @. And as a bonus you can even have website space to play around with if spend a tiny bit more. A small price to pay for freedom if you really want it.

I know I'll never fully avoid advertising in life and thus get a bit a privacy invasion based on this. But there are certain measures (aside from dropping of the 'grid' altogether) to combat this. One is to get a browser plugin that blocks ads.

1 person liked this | fimbles fimbles said:

http://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/default.mspx

Strangely microsofts terms and conditions seem to conflict with there own advertisement,

Guest said:

The point is Google data mines their users data for profit. The process in how they acquire the data should not matter.

Tygerstrike said:

As I do not put anything personal in any email or gmail Google can scan it all they like. I know I personally did not know that Google scanned my emails, but im not really surprised. The only privacy we have is really the privacy we can create in our own homes. Once you step outside your home, any thoughts of privacy should disappear. We are watched everywhere we go and our calls are computer filtered to look for keywords. Email would just be another extension of the lost privacy.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This just in, "Google isn't a non profit organization" (*). So M$ finally caught on to this! Good for them!

I'll bet some rising star at M$ got a beach house and some stock options when he figured that out...!

(*) (But if you block the "googleanalytics" script in your browser, you can make it approximate one)...:p

PinothyJ said:

I didn't know Gmail did this?! Glad I'm not using it.

On a similar topic, would anyone here at techspot pay for Gmail (or any google service) to stop the ads from appearing and your emails from being scanned?

I pay like $7 for a couple of years for my email...

TJGeezer said:

I'd rather have Google send me appropriate (or sometimes humorously inappropriate) ads than humorless enforcement bureaucrats, and their software, cloud-gaze my data for patterns. The same goes for Microsoft - if I use their free services, they're welcome to send robots in to scan for keywords. If I don't want something scanned, there are better ways to do it than getting grumpy at free service providers.

PinothyJ said:

This just in, "Google isn't a non profit organization" (*). So M$ finally caught on to this! Good for them!

I'll bet some rising star at M$ got a beach house and some stock options when he figured that out...!

(*) (But if you block the "googleanalytics" script in your browser, you can make it approximate one)...:p

Is this suddenly 2001 again? "M$?" Really?

-_-...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Is this suddenly 2001 again? "M$?" Really?

-_-...

I couldn't help noticing you know exactly what I meant. Am I going to start typing out "Microsoft" to humor you? Not bloody likely.

Are all those cutsie pie dots and dashes necessary to make your point? NO.

Puiu Puiu said:

Gmail is still better than the shit MS and Yahoo have.

PinothyJ said:

Gmail is still better than the **** MS and Yahoo have.

As I use both outlook.com and gmail.com with the various uni's a study with via distance, I am going to say that the unknown inbox.com is the better of them...

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.