Microsoft slams Google's privacy policy in newspaper ad

Last week, Google announced a number of changes in its privacy polices. Those changes, which basically involve Google now sharing information gathered about its users with other Google services such as Google+, has generated a lot of concern among some Internet users. In fact the US Congress is holding a closed door hearing in Washington DC with Google officials to discuss these changes.

Microsoft has decided to come out swinging, slamming Google's privacy policy changes in a new blog post today as well as a large ad (seen below) that will be found inside many major newspapers this week.

Microsoft's statement in the newspaper ad states in part:

Google is in the process of making some unpopular changes to some of their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like "transparency", "simplicity" and "consistency" are really about one thing: making it easier for Google to connect the dots between everything you search, send, say or stream while using one of their services.

But, the way they are doing it is making it harder for you to maintain control of your personal information. Why are they so interested in doing this that they would risk this kind of backlash? One logical reason: Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser.

Naturally, Microsoft says that Google users that are put off by these changes should consider alternatives, such as Microsoft's Hotmail, Bing, Office 365 and Internet Explorer products.

Image via Microsoft

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Kinect for Windows released along with SDK

Next Story

Microsoft marketing layoffs begin today [Update]

57 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Data has value -- Google's at the forefront of finding new, better ways to turn that value into profit. When/if you use most of their services/tools that appear to be free, you're paying for them by giving Google data they can package & sell, & you're paying for them by looking at what Google has been paid to show you. Now there's nothing wrong with those sorts of transactions, selling your attention &/or data, & in fact they're pretty hard to avoid, but problems arise when you, the consumer are treated unfairly, not getting paid enough & not having enough choice.

Forget about the silly, do no evil BS -- Google, like any other for-profit company has two goals: 1) to make money, & 2) to make more money today than yesterday. If/when they offer you something where they don't directly profit, they are in fact advertising themselves, hoping that you'll use whatever other product where they can & will make money off of you. They care about their image, how they're perceived: 1) because they don't want you going somewhere else, & 2) because a happy customer is less inclined to read the fine print, less inclined to try and figure out whether the price they pay is fair.

And that in a nutshell is why Microsoft launched their ad campaign against Google, & why Google cares. Microsoft would rather you use their products/services, so they can make some of the money Google's making off you -- they want you to look at what you're paying Google & well, comparison shop.

so what? might be nice to get adverts of stuff you may actually want! might be some good deals.. better than them advertising useless rubbish.

No offense but are most of you ignorant?!, targeted ads have been on the internet for at least a decade, on facebook on sky tv for years no information is sold or passed on but companies pay these services to display it to you, I.E facebook uses your info that you put to advertise things you'd like or recent searches you have made etc. why do you think facebook is worth so much money when its free to use, 800 million people use it worldwide hence its a advertisers paradise, same with google because they are all free to use they must advertise or cease to exist. google is doing nothing different here, but because microsoft are smart they capitalized on the ignorance and paranoia of people thinking everyone wants there details. microsoft doesnt need to advertise because they have revenue from pretty much every pc, xbox, wp7 etc. so please stop moaning when this has been going on for years either stop using google if you are really that bothered or shut up.

If they collect the data to give me targeted advertising then so what? I have nothing to hide at all and I'd rather see ads about something I may be remotely interested in.

Google thinks they are untouchable in the marketplace and can change whatever they want.

They might want to discuss that with MySpace when they thought they were untouchable in the marketplace.

Good job Microsoft. What goes around comes around. Microsoft gave you everything in vista could not integrate it because of complaints from companies like Google.

Oh my god, I'm sure Google is super interested in my searches or mail that I host on their servers. Oh wait, they're not - all critical information I store in locations that they have no access to.

I'm sorry guys but Google doesn't really give two ****s about your lives or your information. The whole privacy discussion has gone so overboard it's not even funny.

Not a huge Google fan, but in all honesty, these changes aren't that big a deal. The issue stems from the fact that Google acquired a lot of these services over the years, and each had their own various privacy policies. Had Google launched all of these services on their own, under the Google umbrella, they would already be under a single privacy policy and would be sharing information with affiliates.

Clearly, Microsoft should have laid off the folks who came up with this line of attack. It's just not a big deal...


So let change some words..

"Google is in the process of making some unpopular changes to some of their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like “transparency,” “simplicity” and “consistency,” are really about one thing: making it easier for..”

Microsoft is in the process of making some unpopular changes to some of their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like “transparency,” “simplicity” and “consistency,” , namely Ribbon and Metro/Tiles UI, are really about one thing: making it harder for users to use these products. /s

I don't see why I should trust Microsoft more than Google... they both want me to use their services for the same reasons and doing me a favor isn't 1 of them.

Shadrack said,
I don't see why I should trust Microsoft more than Google... they both want me to use their services for the same reasons and doing me a favor isn't 1 of them.

no, google originally is and always has been a data mining corporation - this is untrue for microsoft... of course this is no reason to trust either one less or more; thats for you to decide

I had to go to the original article just to I could read the picture.

Why even repost the picture if you're going to make the small text unreadable? The original file is only 295KB.

I started using bing for one reason: Bing Rewards. Now, I've grown to like it a lot more than google and use it even when I've gotten all of my reward points for the day. It's just a nicer looking engine and I get as good or better results.

Google's business model has always been to sell its users information to anyone who will pay for it.

Nothing new to see here.

Cyborg_X said,
Google's business model has always been to sell its users information to anyone who will pay for it.

Nothing new to see here.

Got a source for this? Google serving ads to targeted users is not the same as selling customer's information to another company/individual.

SirToast said,

Got a source for this? Google serving ads to targeted users is not the same as selling customer's information to another company/individual.

Err, how do you think they make money? Do you pay for Google products? Nope.

funkydude said,

Err, how do you think they make money? Do you pay for Google products? Nope.

Its called Adsense. Google made 9.7 billion in ads in one quarter last year. So almost all their money comes from ADS and is their primary source.

funkydude said,

Err, how do you think they make money? Do you pay for Google products? Nope.

They make money by selling targeted ads. You tell them what you want advertised, you pay them, they select the users who are most likely to act on those ads. That is not Google giving my personal information to another business.

Think about it... Google's database of customer information/search data is it's asset. They're going to protect that information, and not sell it to people. They're going to sell the advertising as a service and maintain control on their information.

I have no delusions about how Google makes it's money, I know it's ad revenue. I'm looking for information on whether they actually sold my information to someone else.

I had no idea Microsoft made no money from advertising revenue. <sarcasm>

[edit] Agree with it or not, Google at least is being very up front with these changes with their 'plain english' disclosures and not trying to sneak it by it's users.

SirToast said,
I had no idea Microsoft made no money from advertising revenue. <sarcasm>

[edit] Agree with it or not, Google at least is being very up front with these changes with their 'plain english' disclosures and not trying to sneak it by it's users.

Yeah. They're just forcing it on their users...

M_Lyons10 said,

Yeah. They're just forcing it on their users...

Their systems, their policy, my choice to accept or not. I'm not saying I support the changes, just that other companies have been a lot more nebulous about their EULA/Privacy changes. If they lose a tonne of customers, I'm sure they'll review their changes.

M_Lyons10 said,

Yeah. They're just forcing it on their users...


dont use it then!!! its not the actual users who have problems with this change but people like you who dont even use google products have problems.. or can i say a troll.

M_Lyons10 said,

Yeah. They're just forcing it on their users...

Forcing? With many other alternatives to Google, if people don't like their new policy...choose something else. Customers are not being forced at all.

SirToast said,

Their systems, their policy, my choice to accept or not. I'm not saying I support the changes, just that other companies have been a lot more nebulous about their EULA/Privacy changes. If they lose a tonne of customers, I'm sure they'll review their changes.

That right there is the problem. It's the money that decides what goes and doesn't go. And that's exactly why I do not like Google or any other corporation for that matter.

Interesting approach. Privacy on any platform is getting more attention now and it's a good thing to keep companies on their toes. I think people would be quite surprised when they see what companies do with their information and equally people wouldn't care.

Google have a soft spot and Microsoft are exploiting it. As long as they don't become overzealous and stick to good points. They could also be more open on their side with privacy, there is a few dead ends in their policies too.

Good job Microsoft. I support any person or company that brings attention to this nonsense. Google is not doing this for us...

M_Lyons10 said,
Good job Microsoft. I support any person or company that brings attention to this nonsense. Google is not doing this for us...

Nor does Microsoft bring this to our attention because they're genuinely concerned about our privacy.

.Neo said,

Nor does Microsoft bring this to our attention because they're genuinely concerned about our privacy.

And that's the "genius" behind this paper ad, you can't tell that simply by the ad. And that's all that matters. They are certainly no dummies when it comes to marketing and reacting to stuff like this. I'd be curious how much $$ they spent on this.

.Neo said,

Nor does Microsoft bring this to our attention because they're genuinely concerned about our privacy.

agreed but that doesn't mean its wrong at first place. how about making an occupy google campain?

Rudy said,
If we can't build a better search engine we'll slam their crappy privacy agreement!

Actually, I've been using Bing for about two weeks now, and I'm not looking back.

Victor V. said,

Actually, I've been using Bing for about two weeks now, and I'm not looking back.

Agree, Bing is better than Google in my opinion

Victor V. said,

Actually, I've been using Bing for about two weeks now, and I'm not looking back.
I'm not sure if it's a country issue but I try to use Bing every once in a while and every time I get poor results compared to the same search in Google (I'm in Canada)

SuperKid said,

Agree, Bing is better than Google in my opinion

Exactly, it's your opinion. Maybe you are lucky to live in US. For me, living outside US, Bing is a great piece of crap.

SuperKid said,

Agree, Bing is better than Google in my opinion

Im using it for more than 6 months now. Never looked back also. Try bing as primary and i can assure you it does the same and more than google´s own

iguanas said,

Im using it for more than 6 months now. Never looked back also. Try bing as primary and i can assure you it does the same and more than google´s own

Really? Didn't realize I could log into youtube and gmail, and my university email account by logging into bing. When did they add that?

ILikeTobacco said,

Really? Didn't realize I could log into youtube and gmail, and my university email account by logging into bing. When did they add that?

They're clearly talking about the search engine. You don't have to use Google Search for any of those other things.

ILikeTobacco said,

Really? Didn't realize I could log into youtube and gmail, and my university email account by logging into bing. When did they add that?

so bing is crap cause we cant log into your university with it? wow...

ILikeTobacco said,

Really? Didn't realize I could log into youtube and gmail, and my university email account by logging into bing. When did they add that?

What a stupid troll post.

ILikeTobacco said,

Really? Didn't realize I could log into youtube and gmail, and my university email account by logging into bing. When did they add that?

Search results will yield videos from YouTube.

Pepeda said,

Exactly, it's your opinion. Maybe you are lucky to live in US. For me, living outside US, Bing is a great piece of crap.

Well what I tried to do is just use the US version I get all the services I want, including that beautiful homepage picture I get everyday! also once you actually search something it changes to your specific location, which for me would be Ontario.

Pepeda said,

Exactly, it's your opinion. Maybe you are lucky to live in US. For me, living outside US, Bing is a great piece of crap.

I don't live in the US lol, I live in the UK

UndergroundWire said,

How about you don't accept it and move on to another service?


Exactly! That's what I did. I dumped Gmail and never touching Chrome again.

.Neo said,

Exactly! That's what I did. I dumped Gmail and never touching Chrome again.

I tried gmail when it came out. It never gained popularity here in my Country. So i always used Hotmal. Still do. With BING ofcourse. Thanks to WP7 now i love BING!... and yes no google docs for me. or Chrome. Im a IE9 user. So join the club guys!

Zain Adeel said,

I tried gmail when it came out. It never gained popularity here in my Country. So i always used Hotmal. Still do. With BING ofcourse. Thanks to WP7 now i love BING!... and yes no google docs for me. or Chrome. Im a IE9 user. So join the club guys!

how about i use firefox?

UndergroundWire said,

How about you don't accept it and move on to another service?

If you knew anything about this you would know that you CAN NOT opt out of their new terms.

itylernallen said,

If you knew anything about this you would know that you CAN NOT opt out of their new terms.

They mean stop using the products, that is one big opt out