Pot (Microsoft) Calls Kettle (Google) Black on Privacy

Did you know Microsoft truly puts people first? Instead of having horrible, evil products like Gmail, Google’s search engine, Google Docs, or Google’s Chrome browser, Microsoft saves us with Hotmail, Bing, Microsoft Office 365, and Internet Explorer 9.

That’s the gist of a new Microsoft ad blitz (and also a blog post) from one of Google’s biggest rivals, Microsoft (image below). The ads are appearing in newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and USA Today.

Microsoft has also posted a video attacking Gmail. Titled “Gmail Man“, the video was posted to Microsoft’s YouTube channel, literally attacking Google on its own ground.

At first glance, it’s a smart move by Microsoft to capitalize on the fear that has been drummed up in the past week over Google’s privacy changes. As the ad states in part:

“Google is in the process of making some unpopular changes to some of their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like ‘transparency,’ ‘simplicity,’ and ‘consistency,’ are really about one thing: making it easier for Google to connect the dots between everything you search, send, say, or stream while using one of their services.

The way they’re doing it is making it harder for you to maintain control of your personal information. Why are they so interested in doing this that they would risk this kind of backlash? One logical reason: Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser.”

But it honestly doesn’t hold up upon closer inspection, especially considering Microsoft has its own privacy policy and, oddly, one Windows Live ID for multiple Microsoft services as Hotmail, Messenger, and Xbox Live. Could there be any dot-connecting going on?

From Microsoft’s own Microsoft Online Privacy Statement:

“In order to offer you a more consistent and personalized experience in your interactions with Microsoft, information collected through one Microsoft service may be combined with information obtained through other Microsoft services.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

From Google’s Policies & Principles:

“We may combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services – for example to make it easier to share things with people you know. We will not combine DoubleClick cookie information with personally identifiable information unless we have your opt-in consent.”

Seriously, this is Microsoft’s argument? Their privacy options really aren’t all that different now when you get down to it. Give it a rest, Microsoft.


Washington Post’s Misleading Paranoid Headlines Have Some Calling for a Boycott

Meanwhile, the Washington Post continues to stir the crazy with sensationalistic headlines about Google’s privacy policy. As a followup to their hysterically paranoid Glenn Beckian post focusing on the lack of opt out for a company-wide privacy policy (one that is largely similar to the policies you’ll find at giant companies like say, Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft – where’s their opt out version?), their latest is “Google’s new search services and privacy policy have some calling for a boycott.”

Really? I’m intrigued, but oddly surprised that they are the only ones writing about it, according to Google News. Their evidence of a coming mass Google boycott?

“Naturally, there were calls, from a small but vocal minority, for boycotting the service and switching from Google to some other, less “tainted” search engine.”

The author then veers off into listing Google alternatives Bing, DuckDuckGo, Blekko, and Wolfram|Alpha.


Where is Forbes when you need someone to call out the ridiculousness “quality” of SEO journalism these days?

Oh, in case you’re curious what the Washington Post privacy policy states:

“Our primary goal in collecting personally identifiable information is to provide you, the user, with a customized experience on our network of sites. This includes personalization services, interactive communications, online shopping and many other types of services, most of which are completely free to you.”

Yes, a small minority (me) is now calling for a boycott of The Washington Post. I’m opting out of their brand of evil.

Related reading

The finite era of "actionable insights"
Four initiatives B2Bs must tackle now to win in 2020
Optimizing for position zero: The future of voice search