Advertising: Comparing Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo privacy policies

When it comes to your email, privacy is typically a topic of conversation. Microsoft and Google certainly have their own stance on how this should be approached and even Yahoo! has its own rules to play by. This isn't a big surpirse really as each company has their own stance on privay and each take their own approch, some more invasive than others.

We are going to take a look at three of the top players in the email segment, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo!. There are certainly more email platforms out there and we encourage you to take a look at whatever service you are using but for now, these are the three main platforms we will take a deeper look at. Specifically, we are looking out who else is scanning your email and attachments as the majority of the policies align on security and features and all other areas for end user protection but differ greatly from reading your email.

If you want to take a look at the privacy policies for yourself, you can find them here: Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft.

Yahoo takes the stance that it will not read your email for marketing purposes, in fact, they say so bluntly in their privacy policy. They state "Yahoo!'s practice is not to use the content of messages stored in your Yahoo! Mail account for marketing purposes." The language is quite clear that Yahoo! will not scrape your information for advertising purposes. The policy does state that they do have alogriythms that scrape you content but "No person reads your email, nor is any personal information collected or stored in this process". The gist of it is that they crawlers help pull content out to make it easier to add items to address books or your calendar. 

Google's policy is a bit different than Yahoo's. Google is by far the most aggressive when it comes to serving you advertisements. When you use Google's email service the company does scan your content to serve relevant advertisements: "In Gmail, most of the ads we show appear next to an open email message and match the contents of your email. When we personalize ads, we display ads based on the contents of all your emails. For example, if you’ve recently received lots of messages about photography or cameras, we might show you a deal from a local camera store."

In a nutshell, the company uses your content to serve relative advertisements. They do this by scanning your content for keywords to then display advertisements but you do have the option to opt-out of this type of activity but it is enabled by default.

Microsoft and it's newly launched Outlook.com falls closer to Yahoo!'s policy but takes it another step beyond what that service provides. Microsoft does not read your email or the attachments to serve you advertisements. Microsoft takes this a step further and does not display advertisements when reading your email and as stated from the Outlook.com preview guide: "With Outlook.com, the contents of your personal conversations aren’t used to serve ads. We don’t read your messages or attachments to send you advertisements. Period."

Microsoft has taken the most conservative approach to email privacy with Yahoo! landing in the middle and Google being the most liberal of the bunch. Which service is right for you is a personal decision and ultimately, switching platforms these days is a little more than a few mouse clicks away. 

Image Credit: Shutterstock

 

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"Warning: You might not want to change this email address if you've used it to set up a Windows Phone. On your phone, features that use this address will stop working, including Marketplace, Xbox LIVE, SkyDrive, email and others. To use these features again on your phone, you'd need to restore it to factory settings, which erases all personal content."

Well that is a bit retarded. I would have half expected that it would recognise the old credentials for the sake of compatibility, And notify you on the service that you need to transfer your data to the new account.

Ad Man Gamer said,
Well that is a bit retarded. I would have half expected that it would recognise the old credentials for the sake of compatibility, And notify you on the service that you need to transfer your data to the new account.

Of course you can just keep your existing login and add a new outlook.com address as an alias meaning you've got both addresses without the hassle.

@mac said,
My friend is logged into @outlook and he has ads on his right hand side. I do not on mine, odd.
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I think it depends on the email you are viewing. When i click on an email from a contact I dont have any ads, but if I click on one from Orbitz, I get some minimal ads on the right.

@mac said,
My friend is logged into @outlook and he has ads on his right hand side. I do not on mine, odd.
--

Install ad blocker. You're good. I have ad block plus on chrome and it works pretty well. ads should just go away.

S3P€hR said,

Install ad blocker. You're good. I have ad block plus on chrome and it works pretty well. ads should just go away.


or use IE and just enable private protection. stop promoting that privacy eating monster that can be called a browser. if you want the world to know what the hell you do on the internet (incognito mode included) thats your decision. but should stop promoting this behavior apon others!

.Neo said,
Too bad you didn't include Apple iCloud. Interesting read nonetheless.

What iCloud have to do in this post? is not an e-mail client

IvoFajardo said,

What iCloud have to do in this post? is not an e-mail client


Actually you do get an email as part of your icloud account. It's even accessible trough icloud.com

.Neo said,
Too bad you didn't include Apple iCloud. Interesting read nonetheless.

iCloud is powered by microsoft and amazon cloud services. its not on its own

Google needs to be most aggressive when it comes to ads because targeted ads make more money and that is Google's main source of revenue, revenue that is needed to keep the service free. Microsoft can afford to be noble like this and keep the service free because it's able to offer the product as a loss-leader because it's relies on other divisions to stay in the black.

thealexweb said,
Google needs to be most aggressive when it comes to ads because targeted ads make more money and that is Google's main source of revenue, revenue that is needed to keep the service free. Microsoft can afford to be noble like this and keep the service free because it's able to offer the product as a loss-leader because it's relies on other divisions to stay in the black.

Microsoft is not guaranteed to make money off of their email services. Hotmail, Outlook, etc. can be used from any browser, on Windows, Mac, Linux, etc. Users not need to own a Microsoft product and yet still use a Microsoft mail service.

If there was no way for Microsoft to make money with their email services, they would not be introducing new services that cost more money.

nohone said,

snip

Yes you don't need any MS software to use this product but the majority will so MS won't be worried and this product is unlikely to ever deliver a profit for MS going off MS' online division's recent history, it's objective is more likely to be there so Google can't be sort of speak, or to help Gmail's market share down.

thealexweb said,

Yes you don't need any MS software to use this product but the majority will so MS won't be worried and this product is unlikely to ever deliver a profit for MS going off MS' online division's recent history, it's objective is more likely to be there so Google can't be sort of speak, or to help Gmail's market share down.

Microsoft has shown in the past (to much criticism) to shut down services that are in direct competition to Google - Soapbox, Spaces, etc. If they had no plans on making money, they would not create a new service to compete with not only GMail but also Hotmail, they would just put a new UI on Hotmail and call it a day. Don't put money into something new if the old service still works. But it also does not gain them anything in creating a new service; are people going to say to themselves "They have a new Outlook.com email service, I think I am going to buy a new computer with Windows to use it."

thealexweb said,

Yes you don't need any MS software to use this product but the majority will so MS won't be worried and this product is unlikely to ever deliver a profit for MS going off MS' online division's recent history, it's objective is more likely to be there so Google can't be sort of speak, or to help Gmail's market share down.


Microsoft Bing (where hotmail etc falls under iirc) is making a constant loss tho.
But yes they can do so, because they are smarter then Google when it comes to having an income.
thealexweb said,
Google needs to be most aggressive when it comes to ads because targeted ads make more money and that is Google's main source of revenue, revenue that is needed to keep the service free. Microsoft can afford to be noble like this and keep the service free because it's able to offer the product as a loss-leader because it's relies on other divisions to stay in the black.

And? its Google's own choice to operate this way. I cant understand why people are so eager to give up their privacy for free goodies.
nohone said,

Microsoft has shown in the past (to much criticism) to shut down services that are in direct competition to Google - Soapbox, Spaces, etc. If they had no plans on making money, they would not create a new service to compete with not only GMail but also Hotmail, they would just put a new UI on Hotmail and call it a day. Don't put money into something new if the old service still works. But it also does not gain them anything in creating a new service; are people going to say to themselves "They have a new Outlook.com email service, I think I am going to buy a new computer with Windows to use it."


its not a new service, its almost exactly the same when they 'moved' from Hotmail to Live.
Dont forget they couldnt put multiple services under the same umbrella/division/website/section for a long time due to anti-trust issues. Now they're merging more and more. Its just a rename/upgrade of hotmail. nothing more nothing less.

So google rapes my email, Yahoo puts a fence up around it and Microsoft doesnt even acknowledge that it has access to my email?

gregalto said,
So google rapes my email, Yahoo puts a fence up around it and Microsoft doesnt even acknowledge that it has access to my email?

MS does not have direct access to your data. There's only 2 ways as far as I know.
Either by using your password to get through the encryption. Or use a monitored tool MS has to access it. They cant go snooping around your data without anyone knowing!
And MS already acknowledged before that it uses automated systems to scan user data (email, skydrive etc). but its automated, I have no issue with that