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Is Google Spying On You?

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Is Google reading your email? I guess that depends on who you think Google is, actually. If you think of Google as some vast corporation with lots of employees, then no, they aren’t reading your email. If you think of Google as a large network of Internet servers and computer hardware, then yes, they’re reading your email.

Let me explain.

If you subscribe or have considered subscribing to Google’s GMail ( http://www.gmail.com ), then you’ve no doubt heard the hype about their “privacy-invading” techniques to serve you advertising as you read email.

It’s a lot of hooey.

I have a GMail account and have nothing bad to say about it. I have several websites which use Google’s SiteSearch, Google’s AdSense, and other Google tools to serve advertising and garner revenue. Those ads that you see on the right hand side of the page when you search for something on Google are paid advertisements (the ones labeled “Sponsored Links”). Every time someone clicks on one of those ads while on my site, I get a few cents as payment for displaying the ad.

The ads in GMail look exactly like that and are about as intrusive to your email tasks as they are on that search page…meaning they aren’t.

I have, in the past, had Hotmail, Yahoo!, and other free email accounts online. Without exception, those popped up annoying ads, showed banners somewhere on the screen, or sent me in-house-created email advertisements. That’s how they pay for the service. GMail is no different.

Except they’re scanning your incoming emails for keywords in order to target those ads to your subjects of interest. Just like they scan my website for keywords in order to rank me on the search engine and to display ads relevant to what’s on my site.

I think that privacy advocates are wasting their time fighting Google here. I don’t see anything wrong with GMail – especially since Google is being and always has been very up-front about what they’re doing. Just check out the main page for GMail: there’s a link directly to “privacy concerns” where they spell it all out.

I’m much more incensed with companies that will sell out your information and privacy just to make a buck or two. Furthermore, if you don’t like the idea of Google’s computers scanning your email in order to serve up ads, then don’t sign up for a GMail account. See? You have a choice. Ain’t America great?

Aaron Turpen is the author of “The eBay PowerSeller’s Book of
Knowledge” and the editor/publisher of two successful newsletters, in
their fourth year of publication, The Aaronz WebWorkz Weekly
Newsletter and Aaronz Auction Newsletter. You can find out more about
these and other great resources from Aaron at his website

http://www.AaronzWebWorkz.com

Is Google Spying On You?
About Aaron Turpen
Aaron Turpen is the author of "The eBay PowerSeller's Book of Knowledge" and the editor/publisher of two successful newsletters, in their fourth year of publication, The Aaronz WebWorkz Weekly Newsletter and Aaronz Auction Newsletter. You can find out more about these and other great resources from Aaron at his website http://www.AaronzWebWorkz.com WebProNews Writer
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  • kam

    i dont give a sh*t. my personal email is nobodies business but mine.

    • Agree

      I strongly agree. There’s a reason why it’s called “PERSONAL e-mail,” because it’s just that, personal. I feel that Google is completely wrong morally in the way they are going about their ways. They need to stay out of my personal business, and tend to their own!

      • http://www.militarialinks.com/ German Militaria

        They do not really _read_ your emails. It is just a simple “scan” for relevant keywords, that’s all.

        • Rhino

          Is that cynical ? or are you blind ?

      • candyman

        What are you sending in your email that’s so sensitive? What’s a better alternative "secure" email service that’s available at a competetive (read free) price?

        Paranoia abound. Almost nobody cares what the everyday joe has to say in their email and it wouldn’t take a large corporation like Google to break into your messages and steal your passwords, anyway.

        I’d personally be more worried about infectious viruses, keylogger hacks, and spam that comes in email messages. Thankfully, Google does a pretty good job of preventing them.

  • Ramin

    If they can check your email for keywords, then they can read your entire email. That is invasion of privacy. And if they are ever faced with authorities for that information – they have to give it up! Voila. There should be no keyword ads in personal email – banners only.

    • me

      Any email service CAN read your email.  The fact that Gmail is scanning your email for keywords is irrelevent in that regard.

      If AOL, Yahoo, or whoever wanted to, they could also read your email.

  • Guest

    You should probably just send a letter if you don’t want anyone reading what you type…

  • Guestgh

  • Guest

    Since I started using GMail, I have watched as the ads on the side of my page change from week to week depending on the content of the mails I have been reading or writing.

    Try it for yourself. Write a bunch of emails with a subject on a sport and the content about that sport and, without fail, the ads on your GMail will start linking to websites involved with that sport.

    Start typing lots of emails about glycophosphates, ammonia and chlorine and black car will start parking outside your house :)

  • FJ

    Google may only scan your email, but they archive everything forever. They put persistent cookies on your machine and also log all IP addresses. All of this is forever, and can be linked together.

    So they can link everything to you, personally, forever. That allows them to build a complete profile that they keep forever. They will give this out to any valid requester, and can have the right to sell it in the future. Of course you have nothing to hide. But do you have any identity or individuality that you would like to protect.

    If so, avoid gmail and google in general, there are many better alternatives, beginning with scroogle.org, for searches. It is still possible to stay one step ahead.

    FJ