March 15, 2018 12:17 PM PT
Gmail has been considered amongst the most popular email services around. But it seems that Microsoft has destroyed their monopoly on the market with the ultimate email service, Microsoft Outlook
Outlook TKO over Gmail. "Gmail is aggressively going after enterprise customers, but the privacy concerns over the advertising focused Gmail is leading to business customers not buying it!" says Timothy Hampton, Security Analyst Reporter for Tech Times
Microsoft Outlook is now the preferred email service provider for millions of users. It’s loaded with useful features, massive storage space and a clean modern interface. But there’s a lot more to Outlook than meets the eye. So, let’s take a closer look at how Outlook is successfully dethroning Gmail with one issue that some would call a huge deal-breaker. Privacy.
Privacy has been a contentious issue for email users for as long as anyone can remember. This is pretty much where the line gets drawn in the sand when choosing an email service. The Gmail modus operandi has always been to analyze all email texts to personalize the ads they show you. This is the equivalent of someone reading your letters, whether or not you’ve given them permission or not. Needless to say, this is considered to be a significant intrusion by anyone concerned with privacy. One could also consider this to be somewhat manipulative, because your intimate information gets used to create more cunning marketing tools.
In all fairness, for a period of time, Gmail did switch to scanning for keywords only and not the actual email. But since then, they have begun using neural networks and AI to analyze emails. This approach has been successful but has brought them right back to where they started; reading emails.
Google uses Gmail inboxes to mine emails for content and information
Basically, they look for any information about you, no matter how private, that can help deliver these micro-targeted ads. Now this may seem like a good idea to allow for more personalized marketing. But let’s look at the implication of allowing this type of intrusive email surveillance. Let’s say you email a friend about marital problems. The next time you open your inbox, you see an ad for a divorce lawyer which subtly suggests divorce as a good idea. Here is where the ethical line gets blurry. How far is too far? Can this be seen as snooping or even manipulative marketing? Are your personal secrets up for sale to the highest bidding marketer? Microsoft thinks so.
Microsoft treats ALL emails as confidential.
There are no targeted ads in Outlook. Microsoft does scan emails but this is to check for patterns that indicate spam, phishing emails and malware. This is similar to how the postal service scans packages for dangerous items but will not actually read your mail. Outlook does not mine for content or personal information. Emails are not read in the way that Google does. Microsoft aims to create a more secure user experience. It uses data like location, and Bing web searches to show you ads that you are likely to be interested in. They also use information like advertiser web pages that you visit and things that you have marked as Favorites. They do not use any communication from what you say in emails and chats. Neither do they use your document contents, photos or other personal files to target you with ads.
Microsoft considers all emails confidential. Google uses advanced advertising algorithms to analyze email content in order to provide relevant ads to you wherever you go, leading to concerns from privacy advocates.
In short, privacy is a huge factor in deciding who we choose to host our communication with. Some may not really mind that their personal information gets traded for marketing opportunities. Perhaps they have no pressing concern for confidentiality. At the same time, millions of email users do not wish to hand over the keys to their private information. Microsoft has shown itself to be an active supporter of personal data remaining personal. Many users choose Outlook over Gmail, simply based on this one deciding factor. So, how important is privacy to you?