Tech Privacy Wars Continue: Microsoft Slams ‘Gmail Man’


In their war over American consumers, the tech giants have chosen privacy as an appealing battleground. Earlier this year, Facebook started a whisper campaign about Google’s “Circles,” alleging violations of privacy — which ended up backfiring. Now Microsoft apparently plans to use privacy as a selling point for Office 365 email.

An attack video on “Gmail Man” has popped up on Znet; Mary Jo Foley says it was leaked from a Microsoft sales conference. The spoof criticizes Gmail’s placement of keyword-based ads in its user’s inboxes as both a violation of privacy and a frequently inaccurate match to the correspondence. For example, Gmail man offers one woman anti-itching ointment based on the keywords “burning” and “sensation” in her email. She responds that she had emailed her husband worrying that her lasagna was burning, but that he responded saying it was sensational. (So I have to assume these two lovebirds enjoy conversing over dinner via Blackberry.)

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