Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 25th Jun 2017 20:27 UTC
Google

Google is stopping one of the most controversial advertising formats: ads inside Gmail that scan users' email contents. The decision didn't come from Google's ad team, but from its cloud unit, which is angling to sign up more corporate customers.

Alphabet Inc.'s Google Cloud sells a package of office software, called G Suite, that competes with market leader Microsoft Corp. Paying Gmail users never received the email-scanning ads like the free version of the program, but some business customers were confused by the distinction and its privacy implications, said Diane Greene, Google's senior vice president of cloud. "What we're going to do is make it unambiguous," she said.

Good move, and in the current climate, Google really couldn't continue this practice - automated algorithms or no.

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...still dont trust them
by codifies on Sun 25th Jun 2017 20:37 UTC
codifies
Member since:
2014-02-14

...since moving stuff to my own cloud, never looked back...

Reply Score: 4

RE: ...still dont trust them
by Sodki on Sun 25th Jun 2017 21:28 UTC in reply to "...still dont trust them"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

Google's business model is selling real estate on your screen, not your data. I don't use it for my personal stuff, but I'm OK with it. I'm also a bit biased because I used to work there and people's privacy was the #1 thing we needed to worry about on our day to day tasks.

Reply Score: 4

Pro-Competition Member since:
2007-08-20

The problem is that once they have the data, they can change policies any time, and have years' worth of data to work with. And then it's too late to do anything about it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: ...still dont trust them
by Sodki on Mon 26th Jun 2017 07:36 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: ...still dont trust them"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

The problem is that once they have the data, they can change policies any time, and have years' worth of data to work with. And then it's too late to do anything about it.


Fair enough, it's true.

Reply Score: 2

RE: ...still dont trust them
by Morgan on Sun 25th Jun 2017 23:17 UTC in reply to "...still dont trust them"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Same, I now use Fastmail for email and encrypted, paid for cloud storage with a trusted provider for everything else.

I do have to occasionally deal with Gmail when communicating with clients and peers who use it, but it's all work related. This news makes me happier about being stuck with that situation.

Reply Score: 3

New way to make money
by Adurbe on Sun 25th Jun 2017 23:05 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't for a second think Google did this out of kindness. As as user you have to pay for Gmail somehow. If this isn't by email scanning for targeting ads, it's something else. My worry is we have no idea what that some thing else is!

Reply Score: 3

RE: New way to make money
by CATs on Mon 26th Jun 2017 07:19 UTC in reply to "New way to make money"
CATs Member since:
2017-06-09

I don't for a second think Google did this out of kindness. As as user you have to pay for Gmail somehow. If this isn't by email scanning for targeting ads, it's something else. My worry is we have no idea what that some thing else is!


Oh yes, that's exactly my thoughts, too.

Reply Score: 1

RE: New way to make money
by Sodki on Mon 26th Jun 2017 07:38 UTC in reply to "New way to make money"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

I don't for a second think Google did this out of kindness. As as user you have to pay for Gmail somehow. If this isn't by email scanning for targeting ads, it's something else. My worry is we have no idea what that some thing else is!


This is for paying customers only, so there's your "something else". And I think it was done so that corporate customers have one thing less to worry about when using Google, which - in their view - gives them more customers and more money.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: New way to make money
by Drumhellar on Tue 27th Jun 2017 08:51 UTC in reply to "RE: New way to make money"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

It isn't for paying customers only, but it is because of them.

Lots of business customers didn't fully grasp or trust that the email scanning was only applied to free accounts, and that paid email wasn't scanned.

This is just a move to their business customers at ease, by stopping all scanning entirely.

Reply Score: 2

RE: New way to make money
by mkone on Mon 26th Jun 2017 15:06 UTC in reply to "New way to make money"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

I don't for a second think Google did this out of kindness. As as user you have to pay for Gmail somehow. If this isn't by email scanning for targeting ads, it's something else. My worry is we have no idea what that some thing else is!


No business in the world does anything out of kindness. Of course they have other revenue sources, and they want as many customers as possible in their ecosystem.

Reply Score: 2

I had an idea
by unclefester on Mon 26th Jun 2017 08:14 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

What if you insert large slabs of irrelevant text (eg cut and past or randomly generated) into mails and then send to and from gmail using dummy accounts with other providers?

I assume it would confuse their algorithms.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I had an idea
by CATs on Mon 26th Jun 2017 09:07 UTC in reply to "I had an idea"
CATs Member since:
2017-06-09

What if you insert large slabs of irrelevant text (eg cut and past or randomly generated) into mails and then send to and from gmail using dummy accounts with other providers?

I assume it would confuse their algorithms.

No, it would just result in you seeing very random and irrelevant ads. Google's algorithms would not even take notice...

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: I had an idea
by unclefester on Mon 26th Jun 2017 09:43 UTC in reply to "RE: I had an idea"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

No, it would just result in you seeing very random and irrelevant ads. Google's algorithms would not even take notice...


Random and irrelevant ads show that that Google and advertisers are obtaining no useful information. That makes the information totally worthless to both Google and advertisers.

IMO the FAANGs aren't much more than de facto information miners for governments.

Edited 2017-06-26 09:43 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: I had an idea
by CATs on Mon 26th Jun 2017 09:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I had an idea"
CATs Member since:
2017-06-09

Random and irrelevant ads show that that Google and advertisers are obtaining no useful information. That makes the information totally worthless to both Google and advertisers.

Again, if you were the only one doing this, neither Google nor advertisers would take notice. The only way that what you're suggesting could be relevant is if you somehow persuaded millions of people to do the same. And I believe millions of people have better things to do with their time than try to flood Google with irrelevant info.
Also, such behavior on a large scale would be picked up and efficiently filtered by Google's algorithms in no time, rendering your attempts moot. At worst, it would be a temporary impediment, nothing more serious.

Edited 2017-06-26 10:01 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: I had an idea
by Alfman on Mon 26th Jun 2017 16:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I had an idea"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

CATs,

Again, if you were the only one doing this, neither Google nor advertisers would take notice. The only way that what you're suggesting could be relevant is if you somehow persuaded millions of people to do the same. And I believe millions of people have better things to do with their time than try to flood Google with irrelevant info.


That's true, a few people doing it wouldn't even be a blip on the radar.


Also, such behavior on a large scale would be picked up and efficiently filtered by Google's algorithms in no time, rendering your attempts moot. At worst, it would be a temporary impediment, nothing more serious.


I disagree, google's whole model relies on getting good information. If users collaborated together to polluting the data collection efforts by google on a large scale (which of course is not the case today), it would deal a significant blow to google and they would not be able to differentiate between legitimate data and fake data. When you have enough people generating misinformation, statistics alone can not differentiate between a fraudulent anomaly versus legitimate trends.


I'd say this would be a viable way to undermine the value of data collection, except that that generating false data on a massive scale would be a tremendous waste of network resources.

Edit: How funny would it be for advertisers to need some kind of captcha technology for their ad networks "Please prove that you are human so that we can deliver your targeted ads".

Edited 2017-06-26 16:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: I had an idea
by unclefester on Tue 27th Jun 2017 02:42 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I had an idea"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

This is fun. It keeps a couple of tabs open to generate random background searches. http://makeinternetnoise.com

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: I had an idea
by CATs on Tue 27th Jun 2017 06:21 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I had an idea"
CATs Member since:
2017-06-09

I disagree, google's whole model relies on getting good information. If users collaborated together to polluting the data collection efforts by google on a large scale (which of course is not the case today), it would deal a significant blow to google and they would not be able to differentiate between legitimate data and fake data. When you have enough people generating misinformation, statistics alone can not differentiate between a fraudulent anomaly versus legitimate trends.

I'd say this would be a viable way to undermine the value of data collection, except that that generating false data on a massive scale would be a tremendous waste of network resources.

Well, if revenue from data mining and ads were to be undermined, I suppose Google could just discontinue free Gmail service and leave only paid option.
You see, the problem here is that you want a free e-mail, but you don't want service provider to make money of you in any way. Which does not make sense at all. If you don't want your data to be mined, you go look for paid e-mail. If you don't want to pay for e-mail, you make your peace with the fact that your data will be used, you will be shown ads etc.
Using a FREE service and complaining about service provider making money by other means is just stupid. You agreed to all that when you signed up and clicked "Agree" under EULA.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: I had an idea
by Alfman on Tue 27th Jun 2017 06:47 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: I had an idea"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

CATs,

Well, if revenue from data mining and ads were to be undermined, I suppose Google could just discontinue free Gmail service and leave only paid option.
You see, the problem here is that you want a free e-mail, but you don't want service provider to make money of you in any way.


Actually, as a service provider myself, I'd actually be a proponent of google moving to a paid model since it means I'd no longer have to compete with free.


Which does not make sense at all. If you don't want your data to be mined, you go look for paid e-mail. If you don't want to pay for e-mail, you make your peace with the fact that your data will be used, you will be shown ads etc.
Using a FREE service and complaining about service provider making money by other means is just stupid. You agreed to all that when you signed up and clicked "Agree" under EULA.


A lot of my objections with google have to do with the tracking bugs they use without our knowledge. Just when I thought I was blocking all traffic to google, I discovered unexpected traffic on the network going to an unrecognized domain, which turned out to be google's. The problem is that they're so ubiquitous and stealthy that it's easy to be snared without your knowledge and consent.

"Google starts tracking offline shopping"
http://www.osnews.com/comments/29831

The EULA is another point. A few years ago google consolidated it's terms such that if you wanted to use any of their services, you had to agree to google tracking across all of their services. These kinds of terms are extremely coercive when you just want to use your android device without being tracked.

The truth is the world is getting worse for people who care about privacy.

Edited 2017-06-27 06:54 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: I had an idea
by CATs on Tue 27th Jun 2017 07:38 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: I had an idea"
CATs Member since:
2017-06-09

Actually, as a service provider myself, I'd actually be a proponent of google moving to a paid model since it means I'd no longer have to compete with free.

Apparently, paid model no longer works in the real world. If it did, there would be much more and much bigger providers offering paid-only services.
Remember all that widespread craze and insane panic when someone spread the gossip that Facebook would move to paid/subscription model? There was so much backlash from users that Facebook even had to put this phrase in big letters on the login/sign-up page: "Free, and always will be".
Unfortunately, moving back to paid-only services model is no longer a viable business model.

Also, there are quite some paid e-mail services to choose from — why are you still using Gmail and complaining about it?

Edited 2017-06-27 07:42 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: I had an idea
by unclefester on Tue 27th Jun 2017 08:34 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: I had an idea"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13


Well, if revenue from data mining and ads were to be undermined, I suppose Google could just discontinue free Gmail service and leave only paid option.
You see, the problem here is that you want a free e-mail, but you don't want service provider to make money of you in any way. Which does not make sense at all. If you don't want your data to be mined, you go look for paid e-mail. If you don't want to pay for e-mail, you make your peace with the fact that your data will be used, you will be shown ads etc.
Using a FREE service and complaining about service provider making money by other means is just stupid. You agreed to all that when you signed up and clicked "Agree" under EULA.


I can get a paid email account but I can't get privacy. I still have to communicate with people who use "free" email or companies who mine my data. So unless I can convince everybody to use a service like Proton Mail (www.protonmail.com) using a paid service is pretty pointless.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I had an idea
by Sodki on Mon 26th Jun 2017 10:17 UTC in reply to "I had an idea"
Sodki Member since:
2005-11-10

You can just disable targeted ads, the effect should be the same.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I had an idea
by unclefester on Tue 27th Jun 2017 02:32 UTC in reply to "RE: I had an idea"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

You can just disable targeted ads, the effect should be the same.


My idea is about legally sabotaging data harvesting by big corporations.

Edited 2017-06-27 02:32 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I had an idea
by Alfman on Tue 27th Jun 2017 02:52 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I had an idea"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

unclefester,

My idea is about legally sabotaging data harvesting by big corporations.


It has the potential to work on a technical level, but if this idea were to become a viable threat to the big corporations, they would just use their lobbying power to change the laws and they'll sue those responsible for turning profiles into noise. Government serves big money whether we like it or not.

This is fun. It keeps a couple of tabs open to generate random background searches. http://makeinternetnoise.com


Interesting, I didn't realize such a thing existed, haha.

I just noticed though that the site leaves the referrer intact (http://makeinternetnoise.com/) such that it could easily be blocked/filtered. Nothing a browser plugin couldn't take care of, but in its current state the websites it navigates to will know what's up.

A more sophisticated plugin could do more than just hit random pages, it might create plausible human navigation as well.

Edited 2017-06-27 03:00 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I had an idea
by CATs on Tue 27th Jun 2017 06:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I had an idea"
CATs Member since:
2017-06-09

My idea is about legally sabotaging data harvesting by big corporations.

Well, big corporations can always go back to subscription model of xx$/month and discontinue all free services. Would that be acceptable for you?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: I had an idea
by unclefester on Tue 27th Jun 2017 08:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I had an idea"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13


Well, big corporations can always go back to subscription model of xx$/month and discontinue all free services. Would that be acceptable for you?


You men like everyone used to do in the early days of the internet? I used my ISP provided email service until 2004. One of my mates only starting using "free" email a few weeks ago. (AFAIK all ISPs still provide basic email service.)

Edited 2017-06-27 08:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: I had an idea
by CATs on Tue 27th Jun 2017 09:57 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I had an idea"
CATs Member since:
2017-06-09

You men like everyone used to do in the early days of the internet? I used my ISP provided email service until 2004. One of my mates only starting using "free" email a few weeks ago. (AFAIK all ISPs still provide basic email service.)

Exactly. Times have changed considerably since the early days of the Internet. Honestly, if I had to pay for every single service on the internet (Gmail, Facebook, Viber, DropBox, Photo storage, online notes, etc.) I would probably go offline completely. Using only paid services is out of the question completely for a huge majority of today's population. It's no longer "the early days of the internet".

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Licaon_Kter
by Licaon_Kter on Wed 28th Jun 2017 19:54 UTC
Licaon_Kter
Member since:
2010-03-19

I see everybody has the same PR text, what's the original source exactly, since the news post here does not have one?

Reply Score: 1

Scanning for other reasons
by Dr.Cyber on Thu 29th Jun 2017 11:16 UTC
Dr.Cyber
Member since:
2017-06-17

So will they then be scanning our emails only for information to sell to the NSA? Or will they just stop scanning altogether and let the NSA scan it themselves?

Just because they stop scanning it for advertising does not that they will stop scanning it. They probably still scan it or give it away, but with the difference that now we get to have a false sense of privacy, if we are naive enough.

Oh well people should know by now that if you work with anything Google related you have no privacy in that matter. Things like this really make no difference.

Reply Score: 1