The Google 'Gmail' debate

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Will you use Gmail given the condition below?

Yes
13
62%
No
8
38%
 
Total votes: 21

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Stuart
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The Google 'Gmail' debate

Unread post by Stuart »

Google is launching a new free email service (called Gmail) which offers users the chance to have upto 1 Gb of emails in storage, in return for having content specific adverts inserted into your emails.

For example, if an email is sent to a gmail account holder about a holiday in Canada, the email will contain adverts for companies offering holidays in Canada.

This May seem good enough, but is this a violation of privacy laws? Can google legally place adverts into your email based on the content? and how many people woul dactually use the service, based on this condition?

I don't think its the right for google to do this, and i won't use the service at all. Emails are supposed to be private, and i don't like the thought that they are being read.
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Kong Wen
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Unread post by Kong Wen »

If people sign up for the service, then there is nothing wrong with Google doing that at all. People choose to use that service--they sign an agreement after reading a specific terms of service--and they accept the conditions that come with that service. I personally wouldn't use it because I don't have a problem with my current e-mail accounts, and I don't see that I would need 1 GB of space to save e-mail messages.

Well... maybe one would need that much space to save messages full of large advertisements... :roll:
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Rhiannon
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Unread post by Rhiannon »

The user of gMail's privacy isn't in question here. The emails aren't being read; they're being scanned by software for keywords and then analyzed. This is all machine done; there's no person reading through your emails and picking the best ads to show, or archived records of what specific emails are eliciting specific ads.

The only person's "rights" I can see here, especially in the anti-spam law debates, are the recipients of gMail's. A gMail user would be sending someone "spam" within the email message, and if anti-spam laws were enacted, this would mean that either gMail's users could be sued (which means gMail would shut down), or gMail would become an "exception" to such a law. And exceptions create loopholes.

I'm not sure how anyone could take terrible offense to this anyway. Yahoo, hotmail, and other main free email providers already stick advertisements in email of their users. It's the cost of free internet services nowadays.
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Zhou Gongjin
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Unread post by Zhou Gongjin »

Whenever I get an email from a yahoo, AOL or geocities address, there is already a line at the bottom with an add for the respective company, so it's not like this is new. Other email providers have done this as well, and I don't really see a problem with it because I have two mail servers already.
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Kong Wen
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Unread post by Kong Wen »

Zhou Gongjin wrote:Whenever I get an email from a yahoo, AOL or geocities address, there is already a line at the bottom with an add for the respective company, so it's not like this is new. Other email providers have done this as well, and I don't really see a problem with it because I have two mail servers already.
Well, there is a bit of a difference between what Yahoo and Hotmail et al do and what Gmail is supposed to do. Hotmail and Yahoo place generic lines advertising their own service. It's basically the same ad no matter what kind of e-mail you send. Gmail, on the other hand, checks out the text of your e-mail to see what you're talking about and then inserts an ad accordingly. If you send an e-mail to a friend about the great cup of coffee you had this morning, it could insert an advertisement for a certain brand of coffee at the bottom of your message, for example.
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Zhou Gongjin
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Unread post by Zhou Gongjin »

I don't see a problem with that either. Emails sent through most american-based providers are scanned anyways. Even phonelines are scanned for the use of certain words. That's the kind of age we live in, and I wouldn't worry about it if it was for advetisements, I would worry about it if like, Fidel Castro was taking over Google or something.
I wonder what kind of ads we'll get when we talk about RTK? :lol:
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Kong Wen
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Unread post by Kong Wen »

And as the months have passed, I decided to check Gmail out for myself, just to see what it is like.

First of all, the ads are not actually inserted into your e-mail messages, but simply appear off to the right of your mailbox/screen, just like they do in the normal Google search system. Google asserts that all ad-placement is done by computers and that no living human ever sees any of your e-mail.

Gmail Features

1000MB of mail storage. This means you can save literally all of your e-mails.

10MB attachment size. This is a nice jump over other web-mail (and even many POP3/ISP mail) services.

Threaded e-mail organization. Instead of just dumping your sent and received messages in chronological order in a directory, all of your e-mails are threaded with their replies, so when you open a new message, all previous messages to which it is a reply appear for easy access.

Google Search within your mailbox. This is perhaps my favourite feature of Gmail. I can't count how many times I have wanted to go back and check some info in an old e-mail I can't find anymore (especially when dealing with academic or business issues).

Hide quoted text. This is a very underrated feature. You know when people reply to an e-mail you sent them, and your whole message appears in quoted form, unsnipped, under the person's reply? Well, Gmail automatically hides that from view, unless you click a link to see it. Very nice, subtle way of making the interface look nicer.

I haven't been using the service long enough to accurately measure its reliability, so I don't have much to say about that. All in all, I am fairly pleased with the service so far. If you manage to get an invite, you should at least try it out. It's still only webmail, but it's easily better than all of the other webmail services out there.
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Erdrick
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Unread post by Erdrick »

Not really

Likely, I'd open an account and ONLY use it to ship the big attachments. Other than that, not a chance.
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The Sun Also Rises
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Unread post by The Sun Also Rises »

Finally got my hands on a G-Mail account and well...it's...mail like any other...mail. If I could use the account in Outlook or, more importantly, Thunderbird I would be content but since I can't, I think the account will go dormant.
Last edited by The Sun Also Rises on Sun Aug 29, 2004 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kong Wen
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Unread post by Kong Wen »

I will say one thing in its favour: I move from computer to computer a lot, and having a reliable, well-designed webmail service allows me to access important e-mails from my home computer, my laptop, Jen's computer, and any computer in my office or school computer lab. Very handy. And it goes without saying that Gmail makes this a lot more tolerable than something like Hotmail, for example.
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