Google Tells Users It Scans Their Email As Microsoft Puts “Scroogled” To Bed

_Keep_Calm_While_We_Steal_Your_Data__-_Microsoft_Now_Selling_Scroogled_Merchandise Google updated its terms of service (TOS) yesterday to make more explicit the fact that it scans Gmail for the purpose of matching email content with ads. The relevant part of the updated TOS reads: Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored. Google has been sued for the practice as an alleged violation of the Federal Wiretap Act. The case survived Google' [...]


Happy Birthday Gmail! The Email Giant Turns 10 Today

gmail-logo Picture this. It's April 1st, 2004 -- April Fool's day. Google launches a press release announcing their new vertical: Gmail. In the press release the Google founders state that search is actually the number two online activity to email and that they'll offer users a full gig of storage. It had to be one of their famous April Fools pranks, right? Wrong. Ten years ago today Google released Gmail into the wild for a small test batch of users. 8 years later Gmail became the most popular email service, surpassing Hotmail. Initial stories (from Google themselves) stated that Gmail was born t [...]


UK Watchdog Clears Microsoft’s Scroogled-Style Radio Ad Against False Advertising Claims

msft-outlook-privacy The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has cleared a radio ad attacking Google's privacy practices against complaints that it amounted to false advertising. In the decision announced yesterday, the ASA rejected two complaints about an ad promoting Microsoft's Outlook email that said it -- unlike Google's Gmail service -- doesn't scan the contents of emails to sell ads. The radio ad begins with a voice speaking in Pig-latin, followed by a narrator who says "Pig Latin may be hard to understand, but you probably need it if you use Gmail, because Gmail scans every word of your e-mail [...]


Gmail Promotions Tab Gets Visual Punch: Google Testing Image-Driven Grid View

gmail inbox tabs [caption id="attachment_77690" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Source: Google[/caption] It's like Pinterest for your inbox. Today, the Visual Web is coming to email with Google's latest test of a grid view in the Gmail Promotions tab. The grid presents marketing emails in a "pin-like," image-driven fashion by surfacing images within emails and displaying them right in the user's inbox. The images -- now cached and delivered from its own servers -- thanks to Google's move at the end of last year -- are displayed along with brand logos and names and the traditional email subject lines. T [...]


How Microsoft Scroogled Itself As The Defender Of Email Privacy Over Google

scroogled-store-mug-featured For just over a year, Microsoft has been attacking Google over email privacy. Consumers are getting "Scroogled" by a Google that doesn't respect privacy, it has said. Microsoft can now retire that Scroogled campaign. After violating the privacy of a third-party's email account, Microsoft's not in a position to be taking the high-road, any longer. The Privacy Invasion This week, a case against a former Microsoft employee made the news. The employee is accused of passing trade secrets -- software code and other information about Windows -- to an unidentified blogger. Some argue he (we do know [...]


Judge Denies Class Action Status To Gmail “Wiretapping” Suit, Effectively Killing It

computer-internet-legal-law-featured Google received a major win yesterday in the potentially massive Gmail "wiretapping" litigation. Class action status was denied to the litigation by US District Judge Lucy Koh. Had the case been permitted to go forward as a unified class action, as Bloomberg points out, "the amount at stake could have reached into the trillions of dollars if, as the plaintiffs argued, each person was eligible for damages of $100 a day for violations of federal wiretap law." Earlier, Judge Koh had refused to dismiss the case. In the wake of yesterday's ruling, however, plaintiffs must proceed individual [...]


Google Seeking To Keep Depth Of Gmail Scanning Confidential

google-chrome-privacy-featured Google is currently fighting a federal consolidated class action lawsuit over Gmail scanning and data-mining. A main legal theory in the case argues Google's activity constitutes illegal "wiretapping." Google is reportedly trying to keep confidential many of the details of its internal processes and has asked US District Judge Lucy H. Koh "to redact 'confidential' information from the [public court] transcript," according to Bloomberg. The report adds, "The main revelation at the Feb. 27 hearing was the existence of 'Content Onebox,' used by Google to intercept e-mails for targeted adverti [...]


Everything You Need To Know About Gmail’s Auto-Unsubscribe

gmail-featured Gmail recently announced the addition of an auto-unsubscribe feature to promotional messages, making it easier for Gmail users to unsubscribe from messages they no longer want to receive. On most promotional messages with unsubscribe options, Gmail users are seeing a more prominent link at the top of the email beside the sender's name, allowing them to unsubscribe without looking around for the typical place at the bottom of the message. Marketers have asked if this is a good thing or bad thing for them, and others have asked how they need to get it implemented. In this post, I’ll explain [...]


6 Things To Watch For Better Gmail Deliverability

gmail-app-logo For most email marketers, reaching the inbox at Gmail is difficult, and trying to discover why emails aren’t reaching the inbox is downright confusing, if not nearly impossible. (Though Google is reportedly piloting a feedback loop program for email service providers (ESPs) that might help address this.) For now, Gmail’s Bulk Sender Guidelines offer general advice for marketers sending to Gmail subscribers, but they lack specifics. At Return Path, we recently analyzed hundreds of thousands of campaigns from thousands of senders to find out what marketers should be paying attention to. [...]


When Gmail Went Down, Yahoo Poked Fun On Twitter, Then Apologized

yahoo-laughing-joke-featured Gmail was down briefly today, and Yahoo -- which suffered its own and much longer-lasting email woes recently -- still decided it was a good opportunity to have some fun, tweeting about the failure then later apologizing. Yahoo shared the news to its Twitter followers that "Gmail is temporarily unavailable," with a picture of the Gmail error page, as shown above. The tweet has since been deleted. Perhaps it might have been argued that Yahoo wasn't meaning to poke fun at all but be informative. However, that seemed unlikely (and especially so given Yahoo's apology). There was little reaso [...]


Yes, Gmail Has Gone Down & Google+, Too

gmail-featured Reports on Twitter -- and my own first-hand experience -- show that Google's Gmail has gone down, a rare occurrence. Using one of the many site status checking services out there, Down For Everyone Or Just Me, also shows Gmail as down: Google's "App Status Dashboard" isn't showing the error, but it's happening -- and happening also, apparently, for those with Gmail through Google Apps accounts. It also appears that Google's social network, Google+, is suffering severe problems. We've emailed Google for comment -- oh wait, we can't, because most of us and Google also use Gmail. [...]


Consumer Watchdog Files FTC Complaint Over “Send To Anyone On Google+” Feature

consumerwatchdog Consumer Watchdog, the non-profit group that might more accurately be called "Google Watchdog," has filed a complaint with the FTC over Google's recent rollout of a feature that lets Gmail users contact Google+ users without knowing the recipient's email address. Google launched the "Send to Anyone on Google+" feature earlier this month, which lets anyone with a Gmail and Google+ account send messages to anyone else with Gmail and Google+ accounts. Google made the feature opt-out, meaning users that didn't want to potentially get messages from strangers via Gmail/Google+ had to turn it off [...]


My Prediction For Email Open Rates In 2014

gmail-app-logo With Google's recent Gmail update significantly changing the way it handles cached images, they have also updated the desktop interface to display images by default. This is the most fundamental change in the default view of an email since Outlook and ISPs began blocking images by default more than five years ago. The primary reason for the initial change was for security purposes -- mainly to prevent viruses from being easily widespread. Now that Google has devised a platform for authenticating images and deeming them appropriate (virus-free) after the first rendering, they have minimized [...]


FAQ: How The New Gmail “Send To Anyone On Google+” Feature Works

gmail-featured Google has announced that soon, anyone with both a Gmail account and a Google+ account will be able to message anyone else with a Gmail account and Google+ account, even if they don't know their email address. Spam city! Potentially, but Google has some safeguards built in that it hopes will keep this as a useful feature rather than a nightmare. It's complicated, so here's our FAQ on how it all works, based on conversations with Google. What's the new feature? Very soon, people using Gmail will be able to send Gmail messages to people with Google+ accounts, even if they don't know the actual [...]


How Gmail Improved Security & Email Analytics by Caching Images

gmail inbox tabs Google officially announced that images in Gmail would be enabled for all webmail users on December 12th (with iOS and Android Gmail apps following suit sometime in January), regardless of whether or not the recipient clicked "display images below." This change should prove to be a boon for email marketers, but not without some tradeoffs. "Images Off" A Matter Of Security HTML emails -- specifically, scripts, images and links -- have been disabled in email clients for so long that it can be hard to remember why this is the norm. In the early days of HTML emails, many hackers took advantage o [...]


What Email Marketers Are Saying About Gmail’s Image Serving Change

email-growth-featured Google caused quite a stir Thursday with the news that it's serving images in Gmail from its own servers, rather than from the sender's servers. As we reported yesterday, Gmail open rates should become more accurate because images are displayed by default. But other data will go away -- the user's location and user agent, for example. The initial reaction was largely negative, but now that Google has clarified (a bit of) what is happening, some of the main players in the email marketing industry are taking a more measured view of the image caching change. Here's a look at some of the [...]


Google: Gmail Image Change May Improve Open Rate Data, But Will Strip Other User Data

gmail-logo-240px With more information coming in this afternoon, it appears that Google's image serving change in Gmail is a mixed bag (at best) for marketers. Google announced today that it's going to start serving images sent to Gmail users from its own servers, not from the sender's servers. This is starting today for desktop Gmail users, and will come to the Gmail mobile apps in the new year. Here's what we know at the moment: Open Rates May Go Up Google has confirmed to Marketing Land via email that the change will not harm open rate data, and it may improve open rate tracking because marketers wo [...]


Gmail Changes To Show Images: Good Or Bad News For Tracking Email Marketing?

gmail-app-logo We've published an updated story with information from Google about what today's change means for tracking email marketing. Please see Google: Gmail Image Change May Improve Open Rate Data, But Will Strip Other User Data for more information. Google has announced a change in how it handles image display in Gmail, one that might be good for email marketers, making it easy to track opens. Or, it could be a disaster, blocking such tracking. Starting today, Gmail will begin serving all email images from its own secure proxy servers; images will no longer be served from the sender's serv [...]


4 Data-Fueled Insights On How People Are Using Gmail’s Tabbed Inbox This Holiday Season

How Gmail Users Configure Tabs The Christmas shopping season is officially upon us. Inboxes are stuffed with special email promotions that will hopefully result in stuffed stockings on Christmas day. Maybe not Gmail inboxes, though. Will Gmail's new tabs be the Grinch that stole Christmas from email marketers this year? Some businesses have publicly speculated and decried the new interface, saying that Gmail is already destroying their business -- with the new tabbed inbox resulting in declining open rates and declining sales. You can't blame businesses for speculating on how the new inbox may affect email marketing effo [...]


Study Claims Marketers Shouldn’t Worry Over Gmail Tabs: 4 Months In & Not Much Has Changed

gmail inbox tabs It's been four months since Gmail rolled out its inbox tabs, and email marketing data provider Return Path claims not much has changed with reader rates since the tabs were introduced. Based on data from three million users who agreed to share their Gmail inboxes, Return Path's study found promotional email engagement has changed only slightly since Gmail released its inbox tabs: Almost no commercial mail is reaching the "Primary" tab, but instead of ignoring marketing messages, Gmail users are actively searching for them and reading them at almost the same rates at which they did before t [...]


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