It’s Day No. 2 in Microsoft’s three-day bid to court Google users, and Google isn’t letting Microsoft’s claims go unanswered.
Google yesterday afternoon issued a detailed rebuttal to Microsoft’s newspaper ads — seeking to debunk assertions made by Microsoft about the unification of Google’s privacy policies across its various online properties.
Contrary to Microsoft’s suggestions, Google says the changes won’t make it harder for users to manage how their information is used, explaining that they’ll still be able to easily edit preferences and delete data such as search history.
Google also challenges Microsoft’s assertion that the changes are primarily designed to boost its advertising business: “The vast majority of the product personalization Google does is unrelated to ads — it’s about making our services better for users.”
In addition, Google reiterates that its computers — not people — scan email messages to deliver relevant ads: “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.”
Concludes Google policy manager Betsy Masiello in the blog post: “We’ve always believed the facts should inform our marketing—and that it’s best to focus on our users rather than negative attacks on other companies.”
Today, Microsoft’s ad and blog post focus specifically on email, promoting Hotmail and Office 365.
“Some email services, like Gmail, actually read the contents of your mail (both sent and received, even if you aren’t a Gmail user but just sending to someone who is) in order to decide what kind of ads to serve up to you,” writes Microsoft’s Frank Shaw. “They may call it ‘scanning’ and attempt to equate it with less invasive activities like “checking for spam” but it’s quite different. For you, and the people you send mail to, it’s not spam, it’s personal.”
If Microsoft isn’t explicitly saying that people are reading your Gmail, it is personifying the Gmail computers. The company today made official its internal “Gmail Man” spoof video that had previously been an apparent leak.