Microsoft has joined a plethora of bloggers, websites, magazines, television programs, and companies (ie. Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace) to strongly condemn Google’s lack of privacy and good practices. Microsoft has taken the step to create a public awareness campaign to inform people of Google’s privacy policies and what it means to them.
The Microsoft campaign ads will be featured in major American newspapers all over the country every day this week. The campaign, entitled “Putting People First”, will be viewed by thousands of people and will add to the many voices who have been denouncing Google’s company practices.
The campaign brings up the point that Google is collecting a treasure trove of personal information about you every time you use any of their services, which I have already emphasized on this site. That information Google collects from you is sold to advertisers for billions of dollars. Google makes 96% of its revenue from advertising! 96% of Google’s wealth is your personal information which has been transformed to cold hard cash to benefit Google. This is what Microsoft’s Frank Shaw said about the campaign:
“The changes Google announced make it harder, not easier, for people to stay in control of their own information. We take a different approach… And to help remind people of these alternatives, we’re placing a series of ads in some major newspapers this week.”
Today, within just a few hours after Microsoft’s campaign for public awareness, Google attempted to defend itself with a company employee writing a blog post on the official Google blog. Betsy Masiello, Google’s policy manager, basically took some quotes from Microsoft and labelled them as “myth”. She accused Microsoft of doing the same thing as Google by combining user information across different websites the company owns.
Most of the Google blog post is totally disingenuous, especially the part where Ms. Masiello claims that advertisers who pay Google have no way of collecting personal data about you because Google attempts to hide traceable personal data about you from the advertisers. Also, keep in mind that Google itself is an advertiser too! Those Google ads that advertise Google services or Google owned mobile devices stalk you all over the Internet because Google knows your personal information. I particularly find it annoying when Google claims their privacy violations are there to better serve users. No, it’s most definitely not. It’s not about efficiency of search, but rather to sell your information to advertisers. Ms. Masiello ended her blog post with this bit, referring to Microsoft:
“…it’s best to focus on our users rather than negative attacks on other companies. Onwards!”
Shortly afterwards, Microsoft responded to Google by basically saying that Google shouldn’t try to drag Microsoft down with them and that they don’t abuse their privacy policies. The Microsoft spokesperson made sure to highlight that Microsoft does not read through their users personal emails, whereas Google does this all the time. And why would Google read through Gmail users personal interactions? You guessed it, to “show ads that are relevant to you” (As admitted by Google’s Betsy Masiello).