Microsoft embraces a Google service for a change

May 14, 2013 by Michael Liedtke

Microsoft's disdain for Google doesn't extend to all of its rival's products. In a rare bit of cooperation, Microsoft's is giving users of its free email service the option of logging into Google Chat to exchange instant messages and engage in audio or video conversations.

The tie-in announced Tuesday represents an uneasy alliance in the midst of a typically contentious relationship between . and .

Microsoft is framing its embrace of Google Chat as an example of how it's trying to help connect people who rely on various services to interact with one another. Both and Google Chat are offered for free as way for Microsoft and Google to attract more online traffic to its advertising-supported services.

With the latest addition, accountholders will have three different ways to interact with their friends and family in real-time discussions. They have already been able to use Microsoft's own Skype and Facebook's . Microsoft closed its Messenger chat service earlier this year as part of a switchover to Skype, which the company bought for $8.5 billion in 2011.

Even as it offers Google Chat to its , Microsoft is warning consumers that Google's search engine and other services can't be trusted. The company has spending millions of dollars on a series of critical ads that began appearing online, in print and on television about six months ago.

Some of Microsoft's recent advertising attacks have been aimed at Google's Gmail, the foundation for Google Chat.

In a dubbed "Scroogled," Microsoft lambastes Gmail for scanning the texts of emails to decipher what's being discussed so ads on related topics can be displayed alongside the electronic conversations. While depicting Google as an obnoxious snoop, Microsoft's ads urge people to switch to the less intrusive approach of

Since the service's debut nine years ago, Google has never tried to conceal that it uses computers to parse the discussions within Gmail correspondence.

No ads are shown in live discussions on Google Chat, but marketing messages can be displayed if the conversations are saved, according to Google's policies. As it does with Gmail, Google's computers scan the context of the saved chats to help pick out which ads to show.

That practice didn't deter from linking up with Google Chat.

"We do not have any queasiness about adding Google Chat," said Dharmesh Mehta,'s senior director. "We think it's important to give people choice so they can make their email more personal. It also gives people one more reason to switch from Gmail to"

Microsoft believes it already has dented Gmail since it converted its users and other email accounts operated under other domain names, such as, to earlier this year.

The company, which is based in Redmond, Wash., says it now has about 400 million users. That's up from about 360 million users of and the Microsoft's other webmail services three months ago.

, which is based in Mountain View, California, says it has more than 425 million Gmail users.

Explore further: Google Apps synch to Microsoft Outlook email

Related Stories

Google Apps synch to Microsoft Outlook email

June 10, 2009

Google on Tuesday synched applications available online as services with Outlook email programs, continuing a push into workplaces historically dominated by Microsoft software.

Hotmail is dead as takes over

May 3, 2013

Microsoft's Hotmail, the free webmail service used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, was phased out Friday, as the US tech giant completed a rebranding to

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.