Microsoft CEO Says Google Reads Your Mail

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Ask an average guy on the street, and, assuming he’s not a conspiracy theorist, he’ll tell you that the only people who read an email are listed in the “to” and “from” address boxes.  But Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer has stated that information sent through Gmail is read by Google, too.

Microsoft CEO Says Google Reads Your Mail
Microsoft CEO Says Google Reads Your Mail

Ballmer, who was recently in the news over his “Facebook is a fad” comments, took his latest shot during a Microsoft Startup Accelerator Programme speech:

Our Windows Live Hotmail, in and of itself, doesn’t generate much ad revenue.  So we’ve had to put, essentially, a whole portal around it because the traffic around it is very valuable but it’s not very easily monetized in the context of mail.

Google’s had the same experience, even though they read your mail and we don’t.  That’s just a factual statement, not even to be pejorative.  The theory was if we read your mail, if somebody read your mail, they would know what to talk to you about.  It’s not working out as brilliantly as the concept was laid out.

That quote comes courtesy of Ed Moltzen, who made a video of the event available.  You’d expect that Google might have come back with a quick response – the proverbial peanut gallery attacks the company all the time, but Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO, has a rather high profile.  Mountain View has not yet said anything, however.

Is Google just holding its head high?  Or is there something to Ballmer’s claim?  We’ll keep our eyes and ears open as privacy advocates take an intense interest in the matter.

Microsoft CEO Says Google Reads Your Mail
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  • ewbert

    trippy duude

    • JoshL

      I honestly think you misinterpreted the statement. What Steve is referring to is Google’s ability to extract information from the email and deliver ads based on that content.

      At least that’s what I get from that statement.

      • DerekS

        Without misrepresented context, where would today’s media be? Certainly creating news is much easier than the investigative journalism our newspapers used to practice, but isn’t it much easier to just make up something based on a sidebar comment?

        Completely agree that “Google” in the greater sense “reads your mail” (mine included), but in context that it is a artificially intelligent engine trying to serve up otherwise intargeted ads.

        Stop creating news and do a little research for once…

  • http://www.medianowonline.com yusuf kirmani

    Dear Steve,
    Why microsoft is afraid from Google.Everyday you people make some statemnet against Google. Google is god and you people are so jelous with their success. Think, how Google is giving shape ideas of millions of people like me, who don,t know much about online business. Me a very very ordinary publisher. I proudly use Google adsense at my website http://www.medianowonline.com Till this date why I am (others also) not turning towards Yahoo or Microsoft? Reason best known to you…
    Work hard and try to set trends like Google.

  • netndx

    of course Google reads your email. That is what the whole premise of in-email contextual ads was based on.

    It is the definition of “read” that makes all the difference

  • http://www.thenet.ie Phil

    Now if only Google would go to the trouble of answering them too, that would be the trick!

    Sure they are scanned so Google can impress content related adverts on us.

    Who even reads side-bar ads anyway?

    Sure, the concept is thrilling. I have no doubt that many people enjoy content related Ads woven through their online experience. I certainly don’t. I don’t even see them most of the time. Both Adwords and Adsense.

    I can’t help but be more interested in the
    more legitimate content, either in search engine results or in the main body of web pages.

    Here’s to the next phase!



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