The Google v. Microsoft rivalry continues as Microsoft launches another attack aimed at Google’s Gmail privacy policies. Microsoft, which released the “Gmail Man” spoof video a year ago, has re-vamped their Scroogled website in the style of it’s latest attack.
“Think Google respects your privacy? Think again,” says Scroogled.
The site uses the same tactics as the “Gmail Man” video. Google’s Gmail service scans recipient and sender emails, looking for keywords that are then used to generate ads.
“And there’s no way to opt out of this invasion of your privacy,” says the site, just above a clickable ad that allows users to try Outlook -- Microsoft’s own e-mail software.
Inside Scroogled are charts and graphs, each of which are said to represent surveys that reveal a number of unsatisfied customers. According a GfK report, which was commissioned by Microsoft, 88 percent of users disapprove of e-mail providers (in this case Google) scanning e-mails for advertising purposes.
This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has gone after the search-engine giant. September brought “Bing It On,” a blind test where users would pick the better search engine. And in November, Microsoft launched Scroogled for the first time as a way to criticize Google’s shopping results.
However, techies are beginning to criticize Microsoft for launching the campaign alongside their own marketing pretext.
“The problem with the kind of negative strategy Microsoft has decided to adopt in its Scroogled campaign is that the merits of its messages gets lost in its self-serving motives to promote its products,” writes PC World’s John P. Mello Jr. “Microsoft is acting no better than the boogeyman it seeks to bash.”
In a press release on Feb. 6, Microsoft tries to cut past this claim by asserting that users the first priority and marketing second.
“With the Don't Get Scroogled by Gmail consumer education campaign, Outlook.com is doing two things: First, it is highlighting Google's practice of going through the personal contents of emails to benefit Google's bottom line ahead of the user. Outlook.com has launched this education campaign and petition to help consumers get the message to Google that going through personal email messages to sell ads is unacceptable. Second, Outlook.com wants to highlight that it is an email service that puts consumers' privacy first,” says Microsoft in the press release.
Google responded to Microsoft’s campaign in a post on their Public Policy Blog on Feb. 1. When responding to whether or not Microsoft has a better privacy approach than Google, the site replied with a snarky, “We don’t make judgments about other people’s policies or controls.”
The Google’s post also ends with a sharp jab at Microsoft.
“We’ve always believed the facts should inform our marketing—and that it’s best to focus on our users rather than negative attacks on other companies. Onwards!”