Microsoft Revives 'Gmail Man' In Latest Google Attack

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English: Gmail logoImage via Wikipedia
Microsoft vs. Google in privacy and email.


In the past week, Microsoft has revved up its attack on Google by bringing back their "Gmail Man" videos. It is just one more attempt by Microsoft to stop the trend of MSN and Hotmail users from jumping ship and turning to Google products like Gmail, Chrome and Google +. These senseless attacks have many people in the tech industry wondering if Microsoft is heading in the right direction.


The "Gmail Man" videos were originally released this past summer and were aired at Microsoft's internal Global Exchange sales conference. The videos feature a mail carrier dressed in what appears to be a Google uniform. The letter carrier rifles through the stack of mail and even goes so far as to open all of the letters and read them, looking for keywords. At the end of the video, Microsoft asks if you can trust this man to deliver your mail.


The video was not initially intended to be released. After it was shown at the sales conference, it was leaked and many people saw it. Because it was unofficial, Microsoft was able to claim that the video was created in good fun with the intent of encouraging their employees. Now, however, Microsoft has posted the video on the company's official YouTube, Twitter and Facebook pages.


I guess that Microsoft is hoping to capitalize on the recent introduction and controversy surrounding Google's new streamlined privacy policy. Because of the privacy policy amendments and the confusion surrounding them, Microsoft has been taking out full page ads in several major newspapers condemning Google. To fight the attack, Google has posted a very long rebuttal of the claims contained in the ads. Specifically, Microsoft contends that Google makes money by selling consumer's personal information and that the new policy makes it more difficult for people to control their information. After disputing the claims, Google contends that the changes aren't actually changes to the privacy policy itself, rather it is just a streamlined policy that will apply to all the Google services across the board instead of having a differently worded policy for each service. It's worth noting that Google streamlined their policy in a similar way in 2010. Now, with the release of new, popular services like Google +, they felt that it was time to do it again.


So far, Google has been fairly quiet about the attacks. Although they have argued their case on their official Google blog, they haven't stooped to any serious mud slinging at Microsoft. However, they did call out Microsoft on their fear-based advertising campaign. Google made a point to note that they don't make judgements about any other company or any company's policies, however they did say that Microsoft doesn't offer any data liberation or dashboard services that allow users to see what personal information they have given Microsoft.


The contention that Google sells personal information is without much merit. One of the things that I really like about Google's privacy policy is that it's very easy to export all of your Google data and anyone with a Google account can look in their account setting to view or change the information Google uses to market Adsense ads to them. Out of curiosity, I looked at mine. According to Google's Adsense, I am a male between the ages of 18-30, based on my email keywords, YouTube videos watched and Google searches. As a 38 year old female, I'm okay with that. Of course, Google did give me the option of changing the stats in order to make the ads more suited toward me, but I didn't bother to do so.


The new privacy policy goes into effect March 1st. If you're concerned about what that means to your information, take the time to read the policy and don't rely on Microsoft to give it to you straight. Personally, when companies spend money to publish disparaging comments about another company, it comes off as unprofessional and desperate.


What do you think about all of this mud slinging? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


By Melissa Kennedy- Melissa is a 9 year blog veteran and a freelance writer for TechCareersBlog and Nexxt. Along with helping others find the job of their dreams, she enjoys computer geekery, raising a teenager, supporting her local library, writing about herself in the third person and working on her next novel.
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