Microsoft plans to attack Google. Again.
This time it’s going to try to assault the way Google scans Gmail for keywords, then uses those keywords to target ads at users.
In the tech world, this is a known phenomenon. In the world at large, we thought this was well known. Apparently not.
Microsoft’s research shows people don’t know Google does this in Gmail. When they find out, according to Microsoft, they’re unhappy about it, Nick Wingfield at the New York Times reports.
Microsoft’s campaign starts Thursday and it will include TV and print ads.
The hope is to raise awareness about Gmail’s scrapping, thus inducing people to jump ship to Microsoft’s online email service.
All we can say is good luck with all that.
Google has dealt with this particular attack in the past. It has always been quick to note that it’s not actually “reading” your email. It’s just blindly scanning it for keywords. That can often lead to weird ads, but it’s hardly intrusive.
Microsoft’s communications chief has said in the past that he thinks “Privacy is Google’s Kryptonite,” according to Wingfield.
The truth about web-privacy is that people are a little creeped out by all the information companies like Google and Facebook have on them. But they’re not so creeped out that they’re willing to do anything about.
Switching email providers is a pain. It’s really not worth the hassle. And besides, with most people going mobile, Gmail’s ads are increasingly irrelevant. If you’re on iPhone, or an Android, you don’t even see ads, so who cares?
A smear campaign against Google’s ad targeting will almost certainly bear no fruit for Microsoft. The sad truth of the matter for Microsoft is that its brand is pretty weak. We don’t think that tearing down Google will build up Microsoft in users’ eyes.