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Microsoft goes public with Gmail spoof

Microsoft has posted its take on Google’s privacy policies, somewhat ironically, on YouTube.

The campaign centres around the software giant’s bid to sell itself as a viable alternative for any Google users who find themselves frustrated by the search titan’s knack for delving into their private emails and chat messages in order to sell targeted advertising.

The video features “the Gmail man” rifling through people’s private post before delivering it. According to leading tech news site TheNextWeb, the video was first shown at Microsoft’s Global Exchange sales conference and leaked thereafter. Only recently, however, has Microsoft made the video public.

The clip is also meant to draw people into making the jump to Microsoft’s Office 365 product.

Microsoft has also accused Google of taking its users data without consent on more official channels. The Redmond-based tech titan made a number of accusations about Google’s privacy policies.

In an official post on its public policy blog, Google attempted to rebut a number of these claims, labelling them “myths”:

A number of myths are being spread about Google’s approach to privacy. We just wanted to give you the facts.

  • Myth: In 2011, Google made $36 billion selling information about users like you. [Fairsearch — PDF]

  • Fact: Google does not sell, trade or rent personally identifiable user information. Advertisers can run ads on Google that are matched to search keywords, or use our services to show ads based on anonymous data, such as your location or the websites you’ve visited.
  • Myth: Google’s Privacy Policy changes make it harder for users to control their personal information. [Microsoft]
  • Fact: Our privacy controls have not changed. Period. Our users can: edit and delete their search history; edit and delete their YouTube viewing history; use many of our services signed in or out; use Google Dashboard and our Ads Preferences Manager to see what data we collect and manage the way it is used; and take advantage of our data liberation efforts if they want to remove information from our services.
  • Myth: Google is changing our Privacy Policy to make the data we collect more valuable to advertisers. [Microsoft]
  • Fact: The vast majority of the product personalization Google does is unrelated to ads—it’s about making our services better for users. Today a signed-in user can instantly add an appointment to their Calendar when a message in Gmail looks like it’s about a meeting, or read Google Docs within their email.
  • Myth: Google reads your email. [Microsoft]
  • Fact: No one reads your email but you. Like most major email providers, our computers scan messages to get rid of spam and malware, as well as show ads that are relevant to you.
  • Myth: Google Apps aren’t safe, and aren’t government-certified. [Microsoft]
  • Fact: Google’s Apps are certified for government use because they are secure.
  • Myth: Google’s Privacy Policy changes jeopardize government information in Google Apps. [SafeGov.org]
  • Fact: Our new Privacy Policy does not change our contractual agreements, which have always superseded Google’s Privacy Policy for enterprise customers.
  • Myth: Microsoft’s approach to privacy is better than Google’s. [Microsoft]
  • Fact: We don’t make judgments about other people’s policies or controls. But our industry-leading Privacy Dashboard, Ads Preferences Manager and data liberation efforts enable you to understand and control the information we collect and how we use it—and we’ve simplified our privacy policy to make it easier to understand. Microsoft has no data liberation effort or Dashboard-like hub for users. Their privacy policy states that “information collected through one Microsoft service may be combined with information obtained through other Microsoft services.”

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More
  • Cut to new scene: Microsoft employee sifting through Skype calls, deciding which ones he wants to listen to. 

  • A_Nobody

    Girl gamers and nerds have always been around, they have been in our circles of friends, but this new wave in the last 2-5 years finds out what every gamer during the last 30 years already knows: Gamers are horrible, bitter, nasty husks of a human being with some emotional or social damage created from middle and high school ridicule (girls included), but you expect everyone to be nice all of a sudden? What makes you so special? The typical response to not getting things your way; Singling out the guys, marginalizing the insults they get, calling them man-children, mysongists, creepers, woman-haters and potential rapists(Because cons are suddenly a dangerous place for women) will not do anything to people who have already been dead inside for the past 5 to 10 years or more. This will be just a bump in the road.

    We hate everyone for stupid reasons, especially each other, tearing ourselves up on forums for liking the wrong game. Your gender has nothing to do with it, we all catch crap, only what some people get is different from what others get. Why should the swearing, screeching 13 year old in a game’s voice chat treat you any different?

    So be gamers if you wish, but if you can’t take your lumps like we did and still do, you’re better off just being a fan. Because joining us, men and women alike, on this pain train costs your soul, and you will become us with time. Your transformation has already begun with this sarcastic article.

    Welcome aboard.

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