Microsoft has launched a campaign urging users of Google’s email service Gmail to switch to its own Outlook due to privacy issues.
The “Don’t get scroogled by Gmail” focuses on the long-standing issue of Google scanning user emails to determine relevant ads.
“Outlook.com believes your privacy is not for sale,” said Stefan Weitz, senior director of Online Services at Microsoft, in a statement. “We believe people should have choice and control over their private email messages, whether they are sharing banking information or pictures of their family or discussing their medical history.”
The firm says the campaign is based on a study it commissioned which found 70 percent of consumers were unaware that such email scans were routine, while 90 percent disapproved of such practices.
The European Commission has been investigating Google for two years over claims it adjusts search results to bring up its products and sites first, though the United States Federal Trade Commission recently found that no such bias existed.
HumanIPO reported recently, however, that a Harvard University study had found that advertisements pinned to Google search results can display as racially biased due to certain names being associated with black or white people.
This is not the first salvo in Microsoft’s campaign against Google, after the company launched Scroogled.com in November and criticised the fact that Google Shopping search results are paid for by companies.
Google has always maintained that its scanning of email accounts does not invade user privacy.
“Advertising keeps Google and many of the websites and services Google offers free of charge,” the company said in a statement. “We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant. No humans read your email or Google account information in order to show you advertisements or related information.”