Microsoft slams Google user data policy in new ads

Feb 01, 2012

Microsoft Corp. took out full-age ads in major newspapers Wednesday, slamming privacy policy changes at search rival Google Inc. that allow it to merge user data across its services.

Microsoft offered up its own Web-based alternatives, saying for instance that users of its free email service, Hotmail, don't have to worry about the content of their emails being used to serve up ads.

The attack ads appeared in papers including USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and New York Times. They followed an overhaul of the way that handles user data, which the company announced last week. The aim is to streamline more than 70 privacy policies into one main document plus about a dozen others.

The change will allow Google to share user data across services like Gmail, and its social network, Google Plus, increasing the ability of advertisers to focus their message and target relevant audiences.

"Every data point Google collects and connects to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser," Microsoft says in the ad.

In response Google published a blog post in which it refuted what it called "myths" about its new privacy policy, saying, "Our have not changed. Period."

The company does not dispute that it serves up ads based on words in private emails written by users of , but says such scanning is automated and is similar to how many email providers filter out spam. It has operated that way since Gmail's introduction in 2004.

Both companies offer several controls to prevent advertisers from tracking users' online activity.

Online expert Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief of the website Search Engine Land, said that Google's simplification has turned into a public relations "nightmare," but only because it again focused attention on the kind of data that Google has collected for years.

He said Microsoft is in no position to point fingers, since it also collects a lot of user data from its , Bing, and will adjust search results based on information it finds in users' Facebook accounts if they are logged in.

"I think they're largely about the same," Sullivan said. "It would not be hard to go through and pick any major Internet company, talk about the kind of data they collect and start getting people paranoid."

Explore further: Nintendo launching 'amiibo' with 12 characters

5 /5 (6 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google to merge user data across more services

Jan 24, 2012

Google Inc. is overhauling the way it treats user data, linking information across its array of email, video and social-networking services so that information gathered in one place can be used in another.

Google gives Gmail a new look

Nov 01, 2011

Google on Tuesday unveiled a new look for its free email service, inviting users to switch if they like what they see.

Google revising privacy policies, data use

Jan 25, 2012

Google said it is revising its privacy policies and changing how it uses data from users of its services to provide more personalized search results and advertisements.

Google rolls out ads to ease privacy concerns

Jan 17, 2012

Google Inc., under scrutiny from privacy watchdogs for changes it made to its search engine, is launching a splashy ad campaign designed to alleviate privacy concerns.

Google defends privacy plan to US lawmakers

Jan 31, 2012

Google, facing pressure from US lawmakers over a new privacy policy, said Tuesday it remains committed to protecting consumer data as it creates a "seamless and easy" Web experience.

Recommended for you

China's Alibaba plans IPO for week of September 8

2 hours ago

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to hold its initial public offering on the US stock market the week of September 8, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Tablet sales slow as PCs find footing

3 hours ago

Tablets won't eclipse personal computers as fast as once thought, according to studies by market tracker International Data Corporation (IDC).

Chinese e-commerce rivals challenge Alibaba (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

China's biggest property developer, Wanda Group, and Internet giants Baidu and Tencent unveiled a new e-commerce venture Friday in a challenge to industry leader Alibaba Group ahead of its U.S. stock offering.

User comments : 0