Google challenges Microsoft ads, and Microsoft unleashes its ‘Gmail Man’

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.

The Gmail Man video is now available on Microsoft’s official channel on Google-owned YouTube, ironically enough — right below a message from Google linking YouTube users to information about changes in its privacy policy.

  • http://techmansworld.blogspot.com/ MHazell

    I love Microsoft’s Windows Live Suite of services. I only use Google for Blogger.

  • Guest

    Notice how Google responded nearly immediately instead of waiting years like MS did with Apple’s “Get a Mac” campaign.

  • BlogReader

    If MSFT doesn’t look at the content of my files what do they do?  Use tea leaves?  That would explain the amount of spam in my hotmail account.

    Seriously what on earth does “we don’t look at the content” mean?  They have to do so.

    • Guest

      It means they don’t use the content of your emails to target advertising at you, unlike Google.

  • DEV

    Before they go attack google, Microsoft should rationalize their product line so growing businesses can actually use it. Take a look at the Office365 plans at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/compare-plans.aspx.

    If I’m a company with under 50 employees, I can get P1 for $6/user-month. Great! Now what happens when I hire employee 51? I guess I have to bump up a level to E1. But wait, despite being more expensive E1 gives me *A LOT* less than P1. It has read-only access to office documents. If I want to actually edit them, I have to go to E3, which is triple the price per user of the P1 plan I started with. And, to make matters worse, I can only go from P1 to E3 by canceling my entire account and starting over. What happens to all my documents in the cloud when I do that? That’s certainly not something I want to be wasting time with as I’m trying to grow my business.

    And what about E2 and E4? They are mentioned in a question, but there is no explanation of what they are. Is one of those a better fit for me? I have no idea.

    When looking at an online service, I want to know that it can grow along with my business. Microsoft is telling me the exact opposite. When I upgrade any service to a plan that costs more, I expect to get more. Microsoft is telling me the exact opposite happens when I go from E3 to P1. When looking at any product or service, I expect that if I buy more I will pay less per unit. Microsoft is telling me the exact opposite.

    Instead of the page they have, they might as well put one up that says, “go with google because our product offering is confusing and can’t grow with you and our pricing is irrational.”

  • Mark

    This is what it sounds like when doves cry.

  • Sourav Dey

    Is not the Gmail interface looks like a junk box? Whereas, Windows Live is just awesome.