Google addresses email scanning practices in new TOS update

Google has updated its terms of service to reflect that it analyzes user content including emails to provide users tailored advertising, customized search results and other features. The Internet giant’s scanning of users’ email has been controversial with privacy groups describing it as an intrusion into user privacy. Competitor Microsoft claims in its “Don’t Get Scroogled by Gmail” campaign that its Outlook.com email service is superior to Gmail as unlike Google it does not go through email looking for keywords to target users.

Google has refreshed its terms of service, explicitly stating for the first time that it scans the contents of users’ emails to target them with tailored advertising. The changes follow recent legal challenges to Google over its handling of email and Microsoft’srecent Scroogled campaign, which draws attention to Google’s email-scanning practices. Google’s new terms, updated on Monday, state: “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.”

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