Gmail Man Is Back: Microsoft's Ad Slams Google Privacy Practices

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Last summer, a video leaked to YouTube called Gmail Man (actually, O365 MGX Copy at the time). In the video, the "Gmail Man" was actually a mailman that walked around reading people's mail. He would then confront the people with ad keywords based on their mail.

"Sometimes, when a person loves their Gmail very very much, the two get together and an ad is born,” The Gmail Man says.

As the story goes, this thinly veiled attack was actually a product of Microsoft. The video leak came from the Microsoft Global Exchange sales conference, which occurred in July. It was apparently shown there as a sort of "rally the troops" exercise - everyone sitting around, having a laugh at the expense of the competition type thing.

But now, Microsoft has released the video officially on their YouTube channel and they are promoting it via Twitter and Facebook.

Would you trust this guy to deliver your mail? 2 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Here's the video, which appears to be unchanged from the leaked version. The point of it still seems to be advertising for Office 365.

As I mentioned before, this video isn't new - but Microsoft's official promotion of it is. And of course, the timing couldn't be more poignant.

Google's new privacy policy has gotten some people up in arms. Basically, Google is combining dozens of privacy policies into one, and saying that they will use information from all if their products to help personalize other products. Say you searched for "bears," the next time you log into YouTube you might have a suggestion to watch some bear videos.

Whether it's truly a big deal or not, Microsoft has jumped on the opportunity to slam Google. On Wednesday, they took out full page ads in major newspapers that said Google doesn't put people first. The ads detailed Google's privacy policy changes and suggested users switch to Microsoft alternatives like Hotmail and Bing.

Google quickly hit back, doing a little bit of mythbusting on their public policy blog. Here's a relevant snippet from that rebuttal that pertains to Gmail man:

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.

Google goes on to talk about Microsoft's own privacy policy:

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

Wherever you stand on all of this privacy battle business, you have to admit that Microsoft's Gmail Man ad is pretty funny.

Speaking of Gmail, one comedy group tackled the same kind of concerns with GMale, Google's perfect boyfriend:

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf

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