Microsoft warns: "Don't get Scroogled by Gmail"

Microsoft is once again coming out on the offensive against Google, warning users not to get "Scroogled" by Gmail and its practices of scanning through potentially private emails for keywords it can use to sell ads. The campaign is an attempt to get users to switch to Outlook.com, which "prioritizes your privacy" and will not sell you ads based on the contents of your personal emails.

In a press release pushed out today, the Scroogled campaign is also an attempt to educate Americans on some of the bad practices used by email providers. A study commissioned by Microsoft reveals that 70% of consumers "don't know that major email providers routinely engage in the practice of reading through their personal email to sell ads", while a larger 88% disapprove of the practice.

As well as releasing a website to accompany the campaign - which you can visit at scroogled.com - Microsoft is encouraging people to sign a petition to get Google to stop violating privacy by reading emails to generate ads. The petition aims for 25,000 signatures, and naturally Microsoft are hoping that a number of signatories will switch to Outlook.com for their email.

Now Microsoft isn't exactly completely in the clear when it comes to email privacy, as the company does monitor web searches performed to tailor advertisements in Outlook.com. On the Scroogled website, Microsoft are conveniently not advertising this fact, instead focusing on how Google scans the entire contents of your inbox, including the entirety of send and received messages, to sell ads.

Previously Microsoft has used the "Scroogled" catch-phrase to warn users against Google Shopping's practices, but today sees the campaign expanded into a much wider attack on Google and their advertising methods. Gmail has been targeted this time around, but it's likely more services will be highlighted in future campaigns.

Source: IBTimes via: CNET

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I trust Google more than Microsoft and I love Gmail. Simpler interface and great search capabilities. With that Modern design, Outlook.com looks disgusting. I will never use such a horribble interface. Who cares you Microsoft, just shut up.

Any service that filters junk/spam mail or allows you to sort your emails based on "rules" (like Outlook's rules feature) scans your emails.

I guess it's not privacy Microsoft concerned with, but more the reason for the breach. I wish they would just be straight with everyone rather than act all holier-than-thou.

If it would cut down the vast amount of spam I receive in my MS account to the levels of Gmail, I wish they would scan my email. I currently have to filter Live through Gmail to make it acceptable. Wish I'd never given out my Live address at all, to anyone.

MS does a lot of things great, but many of their online services, such as email, are very degraded compared to Google.

Dear Microsoft, here is WHY I will NOT switch to Outlook.com: The calendar interface SUCKS and this one feature I use heavily with Gmail. So Outlook.com has been out for awhile and they are still using the OLD UGLY interface. I use my Google Calendar daily. This is why I have not moved my domain over to them. Sorry Microsoft.

Honestly, I don't care if Google is scanning through my messages. They already do it to give me Priority Inbox, Scam Blocking, and now, relevant advertising. Advertising that is much better than what Microsoft offers. Targeted advertising is not new. Television has market research firms that know what demographic to target. That's why you don't get Life Alert advertisements during the Super Bowl.

Just really strange stuff coming from Microsoft, who I suppose is now best buddies with Facebook now.

why would anyone sign a petition about google selling ads based on your email content, you agree to it when you sign up for the email account from them. They are not hiding the fact that they are doing it from anyone.

I am looking forward when Google is going to stop supporting another MS format and MS will start crying surprised why Google did it.

But there is a good part about it, it is showing (to those who can read between lines) that Microsoft has nothing to compare to Google, has nothing better than Google. It looks like the only path left for MS to follow it to deface Google, they have nothing better to show us.

A study commissioned by Microsoft reveals that 70% of consumers "don't know that major email providers routinely engage in the practice of reading through their personal email to sell ads"

Great, so this guy - let's call him Steve - gets paid to sit at his computer and read through my emails? But now he knows about my affair with Becky!

Wait, silly me. It's an automated system. If I was worried about a computer knowing what I get up to I would have destroyed my home machine a long, long time ago...

MS is really starting to get on my nerves with their stupid scroogle thing. I remember exactly what MS was like when they had a monopoly. If they are so interested in their customers then how about spending a bit more time on the win 8 ui.

yep

I can specifically target my advertising campaigns in Google Adwords at Gmail and include/exclude keywords and phrases that Google sees in the email messages people sent/received.

Then, when your email arrives it is scanned by Google for content and based on that, if it finds the keywords/phrases I set in the advertising campaign, serves my ads to people.

I can't remember if Microsoft's ad platform allowed specific targeting at Hotmail, I think it did. But theirs is just regular old 'display advertising', running banners in front of people. I seem to remember looking at a third party ad serving system who could run their ad tags inside Hotmail. And you'd buy just like you always do - sort of pick the placement - aim for email inbox, and you could buy user data on top of that (that was hit and miss by a huge margin) for an extra fee - choosing gender, age etc. but the system still didn't know for sure it just made a guess based on whatever.

Forgot to add Outlook.com, unlike Hotmail (that will change) features only daily deal ads, kind of odd and never anything I want, just like the rest of the daily deal sites out there.

Google is an excellent company and I trust them with my data. Besides its not a person but a computer that scans for words. Microsoft has done MUCH worse

Ently said,
Google is an excellent company and I trust them with my data. Besides its not a person but a computer that scans for words. Microsoft has done MUCH worse

Ok I'm glad you think that but you are missing the point. They are using private data to target advertisements at you. They are essentially stalking you to increase their revenue. Anyhow I would love to know what Microsoft has done much worse? I can think off the top of my head one instance where Google sniffed data on open WiFi networks and collected the data... If that's not one of the worst things a TNC can do then I don't know what is.

ingramator said,

They are using private data to target advertisements at you.

And this is something they've started doing recently and no-one who signed up was aware of?

To be honest I don't really care. Google offer a very good, very reliable service - and there's really nothing I have to hide in my emails - just banter between friends, and automated emails from things like forums, eBay, etc.

And as incredible as it may sound, I do actually trust Google because they have yet to do anything (to me) to cause me to doubt them. And if they were going to have harvested every possible shred of data about me, they would have done it by now - I've been a GMail user since (quickly checks) 2007!! So probably a bit late for me to care about my privacy!

Chicane-UK said,
To be honest I don't really care. Google offer a very good, very reliable service - and there's really nothing I have to hide in my emails - just banter between friends, and automated emails from things like forums, eBay, etc.

And as incredible as it may sound, I do actually trust Google because they have yet to do anything (to me) to cause me to doubt them. And if they were going to have harvested every possible shred of data about me, they would have done it by now - I've been a GMail user since (quickly checks) 2007!! So probably a bit late for me to care about my privacy!

Well even if you don't trust them, its Illegal for them to SELL YOUR DATA without your permission so you are protected from that. I don't see what people are worried about.

Oh wait... Microsoft is too worried its losing business to Gmail.
Microsoft -> Google is the same as Apple Ads (I'm a Mac/Im PC)-> Microsoft

Both are doing it wrong!

For all you haters:

[QUOTE]Google does not rent, sell or share information that personally identifies you for marketing purposes without your express permission. No email content or other personally identifiable information is provided to advertisers.[/QUOTE]

So, I get ads delivered to me privately on a servers that is superior to Outlook.com.

I don't see the problem? Oh right! I see now.... Microsoft doesn't make any money when I go to Gmail.

This is not a good advertising campaign. MS would do well to get people moving to their services because they offer better services. Scaring people is not good and this campaign is a fail.

If Microsoft continues this SCROOGLED campaign, Google will never let it use YouTube API for the Windows Phone application.

osoalex said,
If Microsoft continues this SCROOGLED campaign, Google will never let it use YouTube API for the Windows Phone application.

They have never let anyone have access to their proprietary protocols yet they love calling themselves an "open" company.

osoalex said,
If Microsoft continues this SCROOGLED campaign, Google will never let it use YouTube API for the Windows Phone application.

And You should care why? Use metrotube, either the paid or free version, they are way better than the official Android app. Better layout and quicker video managment.

I'm still waiting for an YouTube app for Roku, after what 3 years already?

Most people are very oblivious to how dirty, underhanded and downright mean Google can be

ingramator said,

They have never let anyone have access to their proprietary protocols yet they love calling themselves an "open" company.

lol? Youtube has API that anyone can use, and if you use common sense (from the likes of your posts you don't have any). It's called "proprietary" for a reason.

Just because you're an open company doesn't mean you're going to let competitors access your tools and let them get an upper hand. You can still develop fully functional apps for Youtube minus one or two features.

The_Decryptor said,
They don't go through your email, they instead go through your files on SkyDrive looking for anything they don't like.

Lmao. I love when a large company who's been harvesting your information and habits for years goes all out against a different large company who's been harvesting your information and habits for years. Makes for very entertaining times.

Edit: Here's my proof "Learn how the Internet and software works". Figured I'd add this in before the usual fanboy's come out swinging their bat.

The_Decryptor said,
They don't go through your email, they instead go through your files on SkyDrive looking for anything they don't like.

Which is an automated system due to MS hosting the content and many legal issues can arise.
As MS is holding the data, in a way it's theirs.
And we all know how tight MS has to be to follow the law, any misstep will be used against the,.

Also these are automated systems.

But yes my opinion is also that they should leave _your_ files alone, but understand the reasoning and i use skydrive accordingly. Usually documents only, and i still use USB for mass storage (or since recently my 920).
There are no real alternatives, I know MS scans my files but disregards this information once the scan is completed. Or go with Google Drive and know my files are scanned and used to display me ads and follow my personal interests.
Or Dropbox and not knowing wether they will still be around in a decade or more.
Both MS and Google will be here in a decade.

The_Decryptor said,
They don't go through your email, they instead go through your files on SkyDrive looking for anything they don't like.

Yeah I remember when there was talk here about getting banned from Microsoft services if caught with suggestive material on SkyDrive.
However, I had over 500 nudie pictures that I've saved from sites over the years and they were on SkyDrive for years and I never got any warnings from MS.
I did remove them after what I read, just in case.

The_Decryptor said,
They don't go through your email, they instead go through your files on SkyDrive looking for anything they don't like.

That happened to like 2 people and was done by a fully automated system designed to prevent child pornography on their services which violates their T&Cs and for an American based hosting site can have serious repercussions. Scanning through your emails and data to maximise advertisement revenue is an entirely different story.

Shadowzz said,

Which is an automated system due to MS hosting the content and many legal issues can arise.
As MS is holding the data, in a way it's theirs.
And we all know how tight MS has to be to follow the law, any misstep will be used against the,.

Also these are automated systems.

But yes my opinion is also that they should leave _your_ files alone, but understand the reasoning and i use skydrive accordingly. Usually documents only, and i still use USB for mass storage (or since recently my 920).
There are no real alternatives, I know MS scans my files but disregards this information once the scan is completed. Or go with Google Drive and know my files are scanned and used to display me ads and follow my personal interests.
Or Dropbox and not knowing wether they will still be around in a decade or more.
Both MS and Google will be here in a decade.

It's funny because the system made by Google is also automated... you think a Google employee reads your email, saves ones that he likes so he can share with his family, or gossip about your personal life after?

Microsoft is also scanning your personal files/invading your privacy (It's not really "Oh they are complying with the law" because the law doesn't require you scan people's files and find pirated files) Ex: It's legal to store things like your movies, music, etc online as long as you don't distribute them. Also the system checks for pirated materials CLEARLY as examples from Neowin pointed out where people's information has been missing from their Skydrives (NOT CHILD PORN !)

Also, you do realize, the Gmail data you store on GOOGLE's servers also belongs to Google just like you said Microsoft is holding Skydrive data.

So in all, both companies scan your information but don't really use it for anything evil. They don't sell it to anyone, they are not telling anyone about it. Google uses it to generate ads, MS uses it to block this so called Child Porn (because other services such as Dropbox aren't complying with the law are they? Also, I'm talking about PRIVATE files that no one has the link to.)

Oh, and also Microsoft believes that scanning people's files is an invasion of privacy yet still scans them for its x,y reason. *insert deskpalm here*

Lol "tell Google to stop going through your mail" They make it sound like Google is a person doing all of this, like somehow they are storing your data and telling others about your private matters. And Good Microsoft here is using ROBOTS to scan your files which is completely not an invasion of privacy.

*flies away*
Let the MS rage continue, sore losers. Gmail will live on! I can see why it overtook Hotmail to become the largest email provider. It's simply a better product. Let MS rant all they want, maybe these MS fanboys will switch over "oh noes, they read me emails .... nooooo because they are going to call my wife and tell them im cheating on her."

Edited by onionjuice, Feb 7 2013, 8:43am :

[QUOTE]Google does not rent, sell or share information that personally identifies you for marketing purposes without your express permission. No email content or other personally identifiable information is provided to advertisers.[/QUOTE]

onionjuice said,

I can see why it overtook Hotmail to become the largest email provider.

I can as well, compulsory for Android devices and now for YouTube accounts. Also works great as just a spam email address to collect various vitamin offers.

ingramator said,

I can as well, compulsory for Android devices and now for YouTube accounts. Also works great as just a spam email address to collect various vitamin offers.

ahahaha someone's butt-hurt.. cry on!

onionjuice said,

It's funny because the system made by Google is also automated... you think a Google employee reads your email, saves ones that he likes so he can share with his family, or gossip about your personal life after?

Microsoft is also scanning your personal files/invading your privacy (It's not really "Oh they are complying with the law" because the law doesn't require you scan people's files and find pirated files) Ex: It's legal to store things like your movies, music, etc online as long as you don't distribute them. Also the system checks for pirated materials CLEARLY as examples from Neowin pointed out where people's information has been missing from their Skydrives (NOT CHILD PORN !)

Also, you do realize, the Gmail data you store on GOOGLE's servers also belongs to Google just like you said Microsoft is holding Skydrive data.

So in all, both companies scan your information but don't really use it for anything evil. They don't sell it to anyone, they are not telling anyone about it. Google uses it to generate ads, MS uses it to block this so called Child Porn (because other services such as Dropbox aren't complying with the law are they? Also, I'm talking about PRIVATE files that no one has the link to.)

Oh, and also Microsoft believes that scanning people's files is an invasion of privacy yet still scans them for its x,y reason. *insert deskpalm here*

Lol "tell Google to stop going through your mail" They make it sound like Google is a person doing all of this, like somehow they are storing your data and telling others about your private matters. And Good Microsoft here is using ROBOTS to scan your files which is completely not an invasion of privacy.

*flies away*
Let the MS rage continue, sore losers. Gmail will live on! I can see why it overtook Hotmail to become the largest email provider. It's simply a better product. Let MS rant all they want, maybe these MS fanboys will switch over "oh noes, they read me emails .... nooooo because they are going to call my wife and tell them im cheating on her."


The difference is of course that MS does it for legal reason, Google does it to create and deliver content and ads. and that means the information gathered from these scans are added into your anonymous "secret" google profile.

MS Scans are like this: is file image->does file contain what appears to be naked people/porn-> if yes, block file and inform user and provide contact information

if the users complains to MS then, THEN they can unlock the file and check manually if the user allows it.

but again, scanning for legal reasons as opposed to scanning to provide ads and add more specific user info into your ad profile. not the same thing.

HawkMan said,

The difference is of course that MS does it for legal reason, Google does it to create and deliver content and ads. and that means the information gathered from these scans are added into your anonymous "secret" google profile.

MS Scans are like this: is file image->does file contain what appears to be naked people/porn-> if yes, block file and inform user and provide contact information

if the users complains to MS then, THEN they can unlock the file and check manually if the user allows it.

but again, scanning for legal reasons as opposed to scanning to provide ads and add more specific user info into your ad profile. not the same thing.

Uh what difference does it make to the user? You're supporting the notion that one is invading your privacy and the other is not? Both are scanning your files, both are not using them for anything nor are they storing your data about you. Google CLEARLY states nothing is stored or published about you so what makes you say Google is scanning and making secret profiles from your emails.

Also, you lose credibility when you talk like you know what their algorithms are, when neither company published what their system is.

And you know for sure that MS is doing that? There have been instances where people's skydrives have been banned by MS because they ripped dvds and uploaded them to skydrive (and were private too). It's clearly not just checking pictures and that too for child pornography. I find Microsoft to be more intrusive in this case.

Oh by the way, Microsoft is not REQUIRED to scan people's accounts for child porn. Only if they are distributing it can the government know otherwise drives should be kept private.

So, lol they proactively want to enforce the law ha ha ha, what a joke.

Good guy MS scans people's private files to check for child porn even though not required by law. They are doing a great social service for us all.

It's illegal to pirate stuff too you know/

Edited by onionjuice, Feb 7 2013, 7:55pm :