Microsoft warns against using Gmail from Google

by Klaus on August 1, 2011

in Tech News

In a weird advertisement from Microsoft (for their new Office 365), they warn users against using Google’s free e-mail solution, Gmail.

Probably all Gmail users have noticed ads when you’re using the free web-based version of Gmail, but not all might know that the ads are actually based on the content of your e-mails. Google is looking for keywords within your e-mails and is displaying relevant ads to you, hoping you would click on them (which makes Google a bit richer each time you do).

On one side, sure, I’d probably prefer to see ads that are relevant to me. I don’t care about cats so I don’t need to see ads for fantastic cat foods, they’ll probably annoy me more than seeing an ad about something I care more about. On the other side, it is kinda creepy that your e-mail is being indexed like that, and used to show you ads.

Below is the Office 365 advertisement from Microsoft, featuring “Gmail-man” who skims through peoples mail.

While “Gmail skimming your e-mail” is not exactly breaking news (or news at all), I still think it’s relevant to make sure people are aware that even if it looks free to use their service(s), you’re paying with your personal information instead. Personally, I don’t care (yet), but maybe eventually it becomes too much and I’d rather start paying for ad-free services elsewhere. What about you? Leave a comment below!

Comments & Leave a Comment


{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Harsh Agrawal August 1, 2011 at 13:42

I guess they have done more damage with this ad instead of adding credibility…
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Martin Jeppesen August 1, 2011 at 14:27

Weeeeell, maybe exactly makes me wanna ditch my gmail – and certainly not to go to office 3-6-5. It is fun though, seeing it acted out live just makes it so wrong.
Yet, I don’t seem to care. Gmail is just soooooo good.

Plus i mean, an ad free internet is seeming more and more like utopia and if I have to see adds anyway – why not some that are relevant for me. On a sidenote, I would pay for an ad free gmail in a heartbeat.


Alan Tay August 1, 2011 at 15:05

I’m personally okay with the ads. Plus, the thing I like about Gmail is it is fast. Not too sure about 3-6-5 though. But Gmail has topped the security with two factor authentication which personally think is essential to have.
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Mark August 1, 2011 at 21:25

Hey, if you can’t beat em’, slander em’, start a smear campaign, do character assassination…whatever works…LOL.

Go Microsoft…:)

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Jason Cecabin August 1, 2011 at 22:28

what a powerful ad by Microsoft. Does anyone know if this is true or not?

Could just be a way for Microsoft to put this thought in people’s heads and get them to stop using Gmail. Just curious if there is any proof of this…

Either way, what an ad!


Justine Miller August 3, 2011 at 09:07

Gmail is free and good to use. Just ignore the ads that’s showing up.


Jason Maher August 3, 2011 at 10:11

Well even i am unsure about the fact weather this is true or no. Gmail is on of the best service providers it is fact and instant then any others. It has also a variety of addons and that makes it the best.
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Robin August 3, 2011 at 12:11

I am using gmail and it is fast and better than many free emails. I hope gmail will remain there.


Mars Lachey August 4, 2011 at 10:51

It’s the first time I’ve heard of Office 365 but it’s definitely not the first time I’ve heard about Google skimming our emails. Good thing I’ve only used GMail for a short period.
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Wesley August 4, 2011 at 18:59

Well, the ad is certainly disingenuous. There is NO ‘person’ skimming the email, reading the intimate details of your life. I would say MS is going a little over the top with Gmail man. Wesley at Round Rock Utilities


Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate August 6, 2011 at 02:58

That’s corny, great and of course true!
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Daniel White August 7, 2011 at 15:18

I’m thinking maybe this is a futile effort to discredit Google, quite possibly because Hotmail (Live) is so incredibly horrible and slow (and the anti-spam features never really work on hotmail).
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Pedro Cardoso August 8, 2011 at 15:27

I never knew Microsoft was so desperate they had to resort to this kind of stunt. It really does a good job of making me want to stay away from 365. Their e-mail services was always lousy. To this day I still have arguments with friends who use Hotmail. Worst e-mail service. ever.


Michael Aulia August 9, 2011 at 15:49

Well it’s going to be hard to drag me out of Gmail into another email service, seriously

Although there’s always a possibility of something better might come up in the future
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Daniel White August 11, 2011 at 15:11

And this isn’t the first time Microsoft has portrayed a service as evil, they also do it against Linux, FOSS, Firefox/Chrome, and pretty much anything else that is direct competition against Microsoft products.
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Jason Cecabin August 8, 2011 at 17:30

so we pretty much are undecided on if this Ad is true or not.
Half of the people commenting here think it is real, half think it is just Microsoft trying to scare people.

Either way, it is a good ad from Microsoft even if it just gets people to question Google’s integrity. i’d feel more comfortable using Gmail if google came out and issued a statement about this…


charity August 9, 2011 at 07:41

what will google wants with our email that they do not already have? Microsoft just put more stain with their name than what they intentionally want to do with google. I still can’t forgive them for what they have done with netscape..
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Johannes @Spamschutz kostenlos und effektiv August 9, 2011 at 08:33

How old is that video?
They’re doing it for a couple of years now, so it’s really not breaking news.


John August 9, 2011 at 15:56

I think we would all be really surprised what Google does and how much they know about us. Im sure they skim the email to deliver the most relevant Adds. Any data sent via email is digital therefore possible to read by machine and can be sorted or searched in any way they please. Have you had a look in your cookies which google is saving on your computer? All we can see is the detail but what actual information they are extracting from users and how they use it? Well no one knows for sure and i think it is about a time this gets regulated.


Shane Ryans August 11, 2011 at 15:04

This is one of the main reasons I don’t use Gmail!
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Daniel White August 11, 2011 at 15:08

It doesn’t really matter what email service you use, there is really no such thing as privacy on the internet as your emails are stored on a server somewhere regardless of the service you are using.
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Jakk @ Technology Blogged August 11, 2011 at 16:37

These companies are forever fratching and making wild statements at each other, I say just compete fairly and the consumer will decide which products will add value to them the most.


Mico @ Personal Injury Law August 12, 2011 at 18:28

I’m ok with the Microsoft ads but google mail has the highest security of protection not only they have 2 authentication but they also have lessen the spam unlike google and msn mails.


Hamid August 12, 2011 at 22:59

I’m personally okay with the ads.When I’m using free service, there is no problem with thse ads !


soboer August 13, 2011 at 13:23

I don’t care either. I just ignore those ads. Personally, I prefer Gmail over Hotmail. There interface is far more better.
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Bishwajeet August 13, 2011 at 22:14

Do, people really care that Gmail is reading emails or not. They just love the service.
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Siddharth Goyal August 15, 2011 at 16:13

Maybe not now. And maybe common folks never will but as far as businesses are concerned, yes I think they will care who is reading their mails and will want more privacy.

But then I believe there is Google App paid version existing too.
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Jarvis Edwards August 14, 2011 at 06:20

I’m not surprised, it’s free service and it is Google. Of course they are going to think of as many ways to get paid for their “free” products. So it makes sense to see ads related to the email. After all, it IS Google!

I actually take Microsoft’s warning with a grain of salt. Both companies are “conglomerates.”
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Carly August 17, 2011 at 07:58

I frequently see people complain about Facebook having too much access to personal data, but rarely do I see this complaint lodged at Google. I wish more people were aware of how much information Google has on them and how that may be abused in the future.


Alan Smith August 18, 2011 at 07:36

Its all about business techniques.Google always try to introduce new features in its product/services.Now Gmail is the most popular communication weapon in web.Microsoft is also doing good.


ben August 18, 2011 at 16:52

The fact Google skims emails is old news really. They provide a great service and in return need to make ad revenue and that’s something I can live with personally.

I can understand other people’s privacy concerns, but in this day an ages it’s inevitable. Also there are regulations to deal with this kind of stuff.
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Rob @ Atlanta Real Estate August 18, 2011 at 17:50

Yeah, I agree. And who can really read trillions of emails per day?
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Richard August 20, 2011 at 11:29

I use gmail and I don’t care about ads
Microsof’s video is really annoying me
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Kathleen August 22, 2011 at 16:05

True or not, it is absolutely possible. By any of the email parties. Google does offer some great products / services, so you need to weigh the pros with the cons for your own personal expectations / uses.


kim August 25, 2011 at 04:44

As far as Gmail goes – Do you really expect Google to give you something for free?
And for Microsoft – They need to spend less time worrying about Google and take a look at their Live Mail program, OMG that thing needs help.
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Nazmus August 25, 2011 at 07:18

I’d prefer to stick to Gmail over anything Microsoft would provide any day.
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max September 6, 2011 at 08:26

Gmail is free service. So it’s OK to having advertisements on their site. We check our emails in our Gmail account. So who care about these ads. We only care about our mails.
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Veronica Cervera September 26, 2011 at 17:16

Yes, it’s alarming that gmail looks into our e-mail and check for keywords in order to show relevant ads but i really don’t mind because this ads are useful and Google is a reliable search engine that really give valuable information to their users.


Anuradha September 29, 2011 at 08:31

Now click and earn game is every where……..Google’s appetite will never end
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lucho March 24, 2012 at 11:18

Well, any e-mail service, be it hotmail gmail or something else, have their the client mails stored on their servers. They HAVE that info. So they always can and will use it in any way they choose, no matter what they claim. There is no possible way this can be regulated.
Ok, google uses it to decide which ads are more relevant to you. Do you really think microsoft is not using it for anything? Why they would not use it when there is no way that to be known. Do you really believe that just because their ad is spitting at google, that means they themselves are honest? Believing that would be utterly naive and stupid.



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