Gmail and “Privacy”

One thing I see people saying over and over that they feel it is a violation of their privacy to have contextually targeted ads in the sidebar when they are looking at their GMail web interface. Truly, I never understand that feeling. I understand feeling it is cheesy or overly crass but a privacy violation? Wouldn’t that require giving your information to some third party that you did not want it given to? They ain’t giving nothing to nothing. You must stay withing their silo as an advertiser. If they gave away who you were, they’d have no more exclusive relationship with you to sell to the advertisers.

There are many things you might not like about it, including feeling like a player handling your sensitive data is pimping you too hard and treating you like a sheep to be sheared, but privacy is not the technically correct complaint. I think it would actually be helpful to make the complaint match the reality on the ground if you want things to change. Me personally, when I realized how deeply Google has its hooks into me, I bought a few shares of their stock. If I can’t get the tiger off me, maybe I can ride it a little.

2 Replies to “Gmail and “Privacy””

  1. It’s funny, I feel like google has its hooks in me too. Adwords, Adsense, and analytics. They do all those things so well…but oddly I’ve never found the search engine to be that good.

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