Have you been scroogled? Well if you have no idea what that means, do you use Gmail? If so look at the top of your inbox, anything different? Anything that looks a bit like an ad? Marked as ‘New’ mail? If the answer is yes, the sadly you have been scroogled.
Microsoft has created a new campaign to highlight the fact that Google is now targeting users through Gmail, with personalised spam for their inbox. Google has previously held the lead for some of the best spam filters and blockers in the industry. But now the threat isn’t from outside spam but those placed, inside, by Google.
Microsoft has pointed out that Google is placing ads that ‘look like real emails’ inside users inboxes, at the very top – where the latest mail would traditionally reside. In the latest attack, Microsoft has launched a website named: “scroogled.com“, to highlight the size of the issue and warn users.
Microsoft even went out of their way to produce a short video, demonstrating how Google produces the spam. With a lot of allegations quizzing around, Microsoft also added that Mountain View, reads users emails and selects keywords to match the ideal spam.
Ads now also appear within the new ‘Promotions’ tab of the Gmail inbox and are sent from “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Hmmm, fishy and Microsoft seem to think so too:
“Google violates your privacy by reading every single word of every single email sent to and from Gmail accounts so they can better target you with ads, Now, they’re going one step further over the line by using that same personal information to spam your inbox with ads that look like real emails.”
Spam emails can only be identified by the slight alteration in shading, but can still in fact me moved into the inbox and starred. Google has not been accused of such a tactic before, but it is known they use search results to tailor the ads within Google search.
If so, Google would undoubtedly be violating users privacy and this could go a lot further. But that said, ads aren’t bad if they’re appropriate and informative to the user. Not random ads non suitable to me but direct and engaging. Google currently offers Gmail as a free service and obviously needs the ads to make up the shortfall.
That said Microsoft took the opportunity to advertise their alternative, Outlook.com over Gmail. And is now promising not to ever read your emails. Good job their Microsoft, sneaking that one in. So, its again down to preference. Do you mind Google reading your mail to introduce better ads? Or will you move to Outlook to protect your privacy better?