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Old 03-30-2013, 03:36 PM   #1
Gregg Bell
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Is Google reading my email?

I haven't had gmail that long and I really haven't sent or received that many emails, but I've been talking to a friend about doing an ebook cover, and a lot of what we've talked about has centered around doing the graphics for it. Now I just got a Graphic Design ad right next to my emails. I suppose it's possible that it's a coincidence but that's very unlikely. I know they know where you've gone on the web and send you ads that way, but do they actually read the insides of your emails?
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:52 PM   #2
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Yes. They read your email. But they make up for it by doing an outstanding job of keeping all those Nigerian princes from bugging you for help to access to their cash. It's a fair trade all in all.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:05 PM   #3
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If by reading, you mean a computer algorithm scanning the messages and displaying ads based on what appears to be of interest, yes it does.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:36 PM   #4
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Is there a human reading it? No.
Do you get ads based on the context of what's in the message? Yes, of course you do.
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:47 PM   #5
GlenBarrington
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That cat is out of the bag. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Bell View Post
I haven't had gmail that long and I really haven't sent or received that many emails, but I've been talking to a friend about doing an ebook cover, and a lot of what we've talked about has centered around doing the graphics for it. Now I just got a Graphic Design ad right next to my emails. I suppose it's possible that it's a coincidence but that's very unlikely. I know they know where you've gone on the web and send you ads that way, but do they actually read the insides of your emails?
You can't really expect any better behavior from any other email provider. We lost the privacy war the day the internet popped into existence. We just didn't realize it.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:10 PM   #6
BWinmill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GlenBarrington View Post
You can't really expect any better behavior from any other email provider. We lost the privacy war the day the internet popped into existence. We just didn't realize it.
I don't think it goes quite that far, but you certainly have to question the motivations of businesses who offer free services as well as any company that derives a significant chunk of their revenues from advertising.

That being said, you can always encrypt your email if you are concerned about your privacy. A starting point would be to use HTTPS for webmail or one of the encryption schemes for POP3/IMAP. It won't accomplish anything with respect to your email provider, but it does prevent your internet service provider from snooping. Encrypting the messages themselves is also an option, and offers much better protection. Alas, the requires cooperation from those sending you email and those receiving your email.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:18 PM   #7
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Even enccrypted, if the friend you were emailing was the cover designer, Google would probably know that and still give you targeted ads.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:52 PM   #8
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I've not seen a single ad. But then, adblockplus does an excellent job keeping ads away from me.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:13 PM   #9
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Use outlook.com, if you don't want them to analyze the contents of your e-mail. Whenever you use any Google service it is like having your own "personal assistant" recording your every move. It goes way beyond what anyone else does. Some are fine with that, some are not.

Microsoft is providing an alternative to that approach.

Last edited by HansTWN; 03-30-2013 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:58 AM   #10
Fluribus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Yes. They read your email. But they make up for it by doing an outstanding job of keeping all those Nigerian princes from bugging you for help to access to their cash. It's a fair trade all in all.
Thanks to my Hotmail spam folder:
I am filthy rich and am the toast of Nigeria.
My manhood is so large that I can't leave my house.
Women who eschew both clothing and grammar are clamoring for me.

Thanks to my much smaller Gmail spam folder:
I am broke. My entire fortune lost to an online casino.
I know 5 billion recipes for Spam. (At least, I assume the ad is related to the spam folder).

Fair trade? Hah!
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregg Bell View Post
I haven't had gmail that long and I really haven't sent or received that many emails, but I've been talking to a friend about doing an ebook cover, and a lot of what we've talked about has centered around doing the graphics for it. Now I just got a Graphic Design ad right next to my emails. I suppose it's possible that it's a coincidence but that's very unlikely. I know they know where you've gone on the web and send you ads that way, but do they actually read the insides of your emails?
You'll benefit from two extensions if you use Chrome:

Ghostery: http://www.ghostery.com/
AdBlock: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/d...namgkkbiglidom

The first blocks trackers that follow you from site to site and analyze your interests. The second flat out blocks ads, including those in Gmail. Google will still know what you're writing--their alogorithms run on their servers, where your e-mail sits--but you won't have to deal with the ads.
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:51 AM   #12
BWinmill
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Originally Posted by cromag View Post
Even enccrypted, if the friend you were emailing was the cover designer, Google would probably know that and still give you targeted ads.
Probably. It's actually getting quite annoying. I am diligent about protecting my email address, phone number, street address, etc. from marketers. Yet many of the people I know give that data to Google anyhow. Then they give access to their address book to other businesses because a random social networking service asks for it or they ignore the permissions of applications on their Android device.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BWinmill View Post
Probably. It's actually getting quite annoying. I am diligent about protecting my email address, phone number, street address, etc. from marketers. Yet many of the people I know give that data to Google anyhow. Then they give access to their address book to other businesses because a random social networking service asks for it or they ignore the permissions of applications on their Android device.
Any information you give to someone else is no longer under your control, and might get passed on anywhere.

"Two people can keep a secret, if one of them is dead."
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:16 AM   #14
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I find it odd that people want to use all of Google's products ...gmail, google maps, etc... but use add blockers....But, I assume that those adverts help to pay for the gmail etc.... or am I missing something?
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djulian View Post
You'll benefit from two extensions if you use Chrome:

Ghostery: http://www.ghostery.com/
AdBlock: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/d...namgkkbiglidom

The first blocks trackers that follow you from site to site and analyze your interests. The second flat out blocks ads, including those in Gmail. Google will still know what you're writing--their alogorithms run on their servers, where your e-mail sits--but you won't have to deal with the ads.
AdBlock doesn't actually work on Chrome. It *hides* the ads, but only after they've already been downloaded and processed (unlike the Firefox version, which doesn't download them in the first place). You're still having your data cap abused and your movements around the Web tracked. (the Chrome version of NoScript is also quite bad, as well)

Quote:
Originally Posted by hidari View Post
I find it odd that people want to use all of Google's products ...gmail, google maps, etc... but use add blockers....But, I assume that those adverts help to pay for the gmail etc.... or am I missing something?
True, but if they didn't 1) use ads to track and profile people, and 2) didn't make the ads annoying (animated, filled with scripts and occasional malware, etc.), fewer people will end up blocking (not that many do, however, certainly not enough to affect the adscums' bottom lines)
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