Scores of people use Gmail as their free web-based email provider, myself included. But I’m not sure how many people actually realize that Google is scanning your email content (not just subject lines) to serve up relevant ads in the form of Sponsored Links.
Go ahead and check it out. If you look down the right hand side of your emails and you’ll see ads pertaining to the content of your email.
How do you feel about that? Do you care?
For me, it’s ironic, because I use my work email for work-related communications only, but use a web-based email provider for personal communications (like, to complain about work), because I’m assuming it’s private.
But it isn’t. Someone is watching.
To make us feel better, Google says that no humans will read the content of your email in order to target such advertisements or related information. It’s all an automated process.
But isn’t Google in the information gathering business? And doesn’t Google become more valuable the more it learns? It may seem pretty benign now, but who’s to say a few years from now, every email you send won’t be dropped into a giant database all about you and your online activity, which helps Google know more about you, and therefore assist advertisers in targeting you more accurately.
Does it now make you think twice about sending that off-color joke to a friend, or that topless picture of the celeb-du-jour to your pals? Or do you care?
I wonder what it’s like to apply for a job at Google. Do they call references, or do they just pull your IP address and the Sponsored Link history for your Gmail account? If that’s the case, I think I’m going back to snail mail.
Anyone know where I can buy some stamps?