Microsoft launches marketing campaign to help keep your email private

It's no secret that Microsoft's at war with Google when it comes to email. Redmond has continuously attacked Google for crawling through emails that are believed to be private to provide better targeted advertisements to consumers. Microsoft has launched Keep Your Email Private, a new campaign to fight Google regarding this very concern. Do you use Gmail and/or are concerned about activities carried out by the Search? Read on past the break.

We've previously seen Microsoft release videos featuring the Gmail Man. This fictional character went through the mail of others while delivering them, causing unrest and concern. The idea was to illustrate exactly what Google does with email. 

But targeted advertising using keywords doesn't always work...

So what's Microsoft doing with the campaign? A brand new website is available (www.keepyouremailprivate.com - catchy, we know) with information on exactly what Redmond is doing to help consumers out by having them switch to Outlook (there's an awesome tutorial on how to achieve this on our forum) and sign a petition to bring this issue to the attention of Google.

"Google goes through every Gmail that's sent or received, looking for keywords so they can target Gmail users with paid ads. And there's no way to opt out of this invasion of your privacy."

There's a handy facts page to check out articles in reputable publications and to compare both Gmail and Outlook. Microsoft also provides a link to both its own and Google's privacy policies, as well as stating a rather interesting fact: simply because you don't use Gmail doesn't mean your emails remain private. If you've sent an email to someone who uses Google's email service, that message too may have been scanned. Some food for thought.

Head on over to Microsoft's Keep Your Email Private website for more details, some videos and links to get involved. Let us know in the comments if you've been affected by the issue and switched to Outlook (or another provider).

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

68 Comments
  • Doesn't outlook show ads?
  • Yes but they aren't targeted by scanning your email though.
  • Not based on the content of your emails!
  • Finally received my Lumia 928 today. Nothing like good insurance. For the record my previous 928 slipped out my pockets during a cab ride. She will be missed....... (I know, so off topic, but hooray)!
  • Um, what?  How is that related?
  • Did you read my entire comment? As a matter of fact it doesn't matter. As you mentioned, let's remain on topic.
  • It's not.  Hurray, Tech Knowledge!!! Glad you got your Lumia back.
  • :-D
  • Please, as if we aren't being spyed on by every major tech company.  
  • +920
  • Ah, the classic "well everyone else is doing it" argument from my childhood. Holy Jesus.
  • Well, they all are. Some to varying degrees than others. Some in very different methods. But they're all doing the same thing in the end. Its all about what your willing to put up with as the consumer
  • "Some to varying degrees than others."
    This is exactly the point. What MS or FB know about me are things that I've either given them explicit permission to access through linking an account, or implicit access through using the service. But there is an expectation that e-mail, like snail mail, will be private. That's a boundary that MS respects but Google does not.  It's common knowledge that FB farms your every post for personal data, but people may still believe that their GMail is private, so the point of the campaign is to make people more aware of the situation.
  • I totally agree with you mate. I think Facebook is as bad as Gmail. I was chatting (private) on Facebook, to my cousin in Inverness (Scotland). The next day my hotmail got spammed to hell with emails, from companies offering cheap hotels and holiday homes in Inverness -- WTF is wrong with these companies, if I want to buy something, I'll search for the latest deals myself or sign up for alerts -- outlook/hotmail all the way for me!
  • Exactly. As I tell anyone who bothers asking, to Microsoft you are the customer, and one that will potentially use their other devices and services, and for which ad revenue is just a bonus stream of cash. To Google, you are the product, with which they use their devices and services to "package" you for their customers, the ad companies.   Why anyone would want to be the product instead of the customer is beyond me. For all the crud MS pulled in the OS/2 days, they completely 180'd and respect their customers and try to give them options, even when it may be competitors. Frustrating for some of us at times, but they are, more often than not, actually doing the right thing. Whether it's strictly fear of more government intervention, a change in their world view, or some combination thereof, is irrelevant as long as they continue to have the motivation to continue treating us like customers they want to get and keep. They ain't perfect at it, but they try.  
  • At least Microsoft does offer users the ability to opt out of such things. Does that mean they're honoring those opt outs? Not necessarily, but I'll trust them, and besides, with Google, you can rest 100% assured you're data is being sold, seeing as they shamelessly state it (that statment from the Google executive at the end of the video is really unsettling for me).
  • Agreed
  • Already use Outlook :D 
  • Yep.
  • Yep
  • This seems better than scroogled.
  • "got his nose in every colon" HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
  • Private. Except from the n s a .
  • +2520
  • Yeah, but the NSA are not going to spam you, are they mate? Furthermore, if you've got nothing to hide like being a terrorist or paedophile, I don't see an issue with the NSA spying. In some cases the NSA and similar agencies around the world, are a good thing -- evil people need to be held accountable, for their actions, wouldn't you agree?
  • The problem with this view is quite simple: when the government can collect all of this data about you, it can be used against you by the same government if you become a politcal enemy. Suppose you run for office 10 years from now, and suddenly private emails about sensitive topics are put up for all too see? There is so much potential for abuse by the government - see the IRS targeting political enemies of the President - that this sort of thing simply can't be tolerated. It's not even very good at stopping terrorists. Humint is far, far better.  
  • I completely agree with you. Honestly, we have more to fear from the the NSA and IRS than we do from any terrorist.
  • Really?
  • I appreciate your opinion, but like I said, if you have nothing to hide then how can anyone use anything against you? Furthermore, what is the likelihood of the average person becoming a political figure? Also, if you have done dodgy things in the past, then you shouldn't even think about running for office -- only an idiot would do that. This is the problem with politics, it's full of self serving fools who make mistakes, like everyone else does -- it's only human nature, to make mistakes. The problem with politicians, is they try portray they are perfect, and will do anything in there power to stop their cobwebs (so to speak) being shown to the public.
    I agree to some extent, they are not good at stopping 'some' terrorists. However, this is because their is too many crazy individuals, who are not directly linked to any terrorist organisation. Therefore, making it a lot harder for them to catch. On the other hand, these same agencies (NSA, CIA, MI5 etc) have caught loads of terrorists, who are connected to organised terror groups -- yeah that's right, through the same means that you are against. If it wasn't for these agencies, you would more than likely see 911 or 7/7 (RIP to all that got killed) every other year in the western world -- you only have look at all the bombings in Kenya, over the last 3 years to understand -- yeah that's right organised terrorist, not crazy school kids, who 'think' they are terrorists because they learnt it from the internet. Boy, lets hope you never personally feel, the effects of terrorism, as you may then realise, just how important these agencies are mate. Speak to people who lost family in 911 or 7/7 bombings, then try tell me about your fairytale stories from the internet -- I live in the real world and these agencies, no matter good or bad are a necessity! Oh, just one more thing, it was spying that finally enabled US special forces, to kill Bin Laden -- so you stay their wrapped in candyfloss, thinking we don't need protecting. Sorry if I've come across blunt, but this subject is dear to my heart.
  • I'm going to have to agree with you here.
  • "If you have nothing to hide" That is my concern if I have anything to hide. We call that Privacy. If you have nothing to hide okay - I keep my stuff for myself thanks.
  • Adrian are talking to me? If so, technically you don't keep stuff to yourself, or you wouldn't even use the Internet -- your argument (what little bit you have) is flawed. The only thing you "keep private" is behind closed doors, meaning what ever you get up to within your house -- you know, like taking a dump at the toilet. So you need to stop being paranoid about the NSA etc. They're helping you live comfy in the western world (that's if you do, that is) or would you like where you live, turn into places like Kenya? End of the day, it's likely they haven't the resources and funds to spy on everyone -- they only spy on the people, they already have 'intelligence' on. Come keep it real mate, they are hardly going to spy on 'you' unless you're doing weird stuff -- like I stated earlier, the question is are you? If not chill out and enjoy the ride. Also, if you do live in the states, I suggest you read up some history about it's founding forefathers. You'll find that, they wanted the states to be a fare and safe country for all who lived there -- the American dream, comes to mind -- where anyone no matter of class, can be successful unlike Europe at the time -- that's why everyone, from the rest of the moved there. If you don't like the way agencies in developed countries work, may I suggest you and who ever else, move to the top of a mountain in Peru, and use carrier pigeons has your form of mail...
  • Wow - so you are one of those patriots that really belief that crap they tell you in order to provide "security" for everyone. american dream - do you actualy live here and now or back than? how do they help me to live comfy in the western world? by collecting ALL data about everyone? that makes me feel comfy. especially when they later try to use those things against you for example for policital reasons. well - at least you have something to follow. well - go on.. keep on supporting the NSA, GCHQ and the rest of the world in spying on everyone else and our own people! like benjamin franklin said - “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
  • Adrian I'm not patriotic mate, just got tons of common sense -- something you seem to lack. Furthermore, that Benjamin quote was made 200 years ago. Therefore, it is totally irrelevant in todays society, as they didn't have sophisticated terrorists hijacking planes, and killing innocent people in shopping malls. Good night and God bless and I hope 'Youtube' learns you something different -- instead of you spewing all that same rhetoric shite, like a broken record!
  • Let me be more blunt. I wasn't talking about spying, I was talking about sweeping up all of our communications and emails. I have zero problem with the NSA specifically targeting someone they suspect to be a terrorist, as long as the FISA court oversees the actions. Most of these wack jobs do in fact try to get connected with groups like Al Qaeda, and Humint is very valuable in a lot of these cases, because they may attempt to keep their electronic traces to a minimum. More often than not we actually knew ahead of time these wack jobs were worth keeping an eye on and failed. Proper Humint would have prevented 9/11, at least in the way it happened. As to "nothing to hide", that's just BS. What about love letters, any sexting you decide to do, pictures of your family and aquaintences, and many more examples of honest things you could be doing that you do not want the world to know. And don't act like you never sin. We all do shaddy things from time to time in our lives. The only difference is to what level, if any, guilt we have about it, and how often we fight the urge to do something we know we shouldn't. The old high and might "I never do anything worth hiding" talk is just that; talk. People like you would give up our freedoms and rights for a little bit of security that isn't really security at all. If someone suddenly decides to blow up a bunch of school children, out of the blue, they can do so with ease unless armed security stops them. Grabbing all of their email and communications may show nothing and will likely never stop them. We had all of this going on and the Boston Marathon attack happened, and another individual was able to setup a bomb, in a car, in Times Square, that, thankfully, failed to detonate. Did the NSA spying stop any of these? Nope.  
  • falconrap -- Firstly, don't tell me what I do and don't do in terms of texting and sinning. Secondly, get your head out of the dirt (and that's putting it politely). Thirdly, the Boston bombers were not connected to an organised terror group -- you obviously haven't read my reply explaining the difference between organised terrorists and crazy individuals? I'll tell you something else, I personally knew one of the London bombers (Jermaine Lindsay aka Jamal), when he 14 years old. He used to train at the Rawthorpe Boxing club where I used to volunteer (by the way he was a brilliant boxer). Anyway, he was a normal everyday kid, then disappeared. About three years later I happened to start working with him, and was a totally different person speaking fluent Arabic (an ancient dialect to be more precise). He used to keep in contact with Al Qaeda through emails and pay as you go mobiles (seen with my own eyes). One year after that he bombed London -- so I don't care that you are bothered about said agencies sweeping up all your communications and emails, and your paranoid about them seeing your love letters etc. WOW, that's real romantic pmsl. Lets end this discussion because you clearly haven't been personally affected by terrorism, and hopefully you never do -- it will only be then 'people' like 'you', will think like 'people' like 'me' who by your definition are "old high and might" who "would give up our freedoms and right for a little bit of security that isn't security at all". You sir seem to be very ignorant or stupid?
  • Wow. Just wow. I'm ignorant? You do realize that more people die in automobile accidents every year than all of the terrorist attacks combined...right? Maybe, for our safety and security, we should ban all motor vehicles and save 35k lives a year in the US alone. You clearly have no idea how tryanical governments operate. They use personal information they gather on people, through various means, to force their people to kowtow to them and do their as they demand. Sorry, but the US was built on freedom and independance. With freedom comes responsibility and an inherent level of danger in ones daily life. If you want to live as a slave to your government...all the power to you. My whole point, however, is that the operation of sweeping up all of this information does absolutely nothing to stop terrorists. Not one terrorist hasn't been flagged by the NSA, CIA, or FBI well before they committ these acts, or try to committ them. They knew about the Boston bombers as well. They simply failed to act because they are overloaded with information. The info they had, which they should have followed, did not come from these NSA programs we are speaking of.  
  • 100% in agreement there. Far too many times, history has proven you right.
  • F*ck Google!!
  • Privacy is slowly becoming a really cheap concept. Sad times. When I have told people about this and also the Linked In thing recently, they look at me with the "as if" look.
  • Most people are sheep, and don't think for themselves. Sad but true.
  • The average person is ignorant. A good way to educate yourself and those around you is to read the book 1984. Not everything in the book has transpired, but most has.
  • I'm slowly moving away from Google stuff (as I ironically type this within Chrome) because of how shady/crappy they've gotten. Chrome was great at first, but now it's just a bloated, resource hogging mess. Android became frustrating and unreliable, and of course they're massive hypocrites with their "openness" credo while shunning Windows Phone users. 
  • "Android became frustraiting and unreliable"   *Android has always been frustrating and unreliable   Fixed that for you :P
  • Just wondering...i have a Gmail acct I use for garbage...IF I use search for porn, do I get ads from porn sites? Anyone know? Or will I get a bunch of eharmony ads? I'm tempted to try just so I can say Google is spamming me with porn.
  • You know..."Honey, its not me, its Googles fault!"
    jk
  • Outlook charges $20/year if you want to remove ads. Is that all they make per year/per user by displaying ads? I thought it would be more.
  • I imagine it would actually be less per year - all the ads I get in Outlook are for MS products like Surface or Office. Both of which I already have, but I would have bought them without the ads ... OR WOULD I HAVE?? XP In any case, I don't mind the Outlook ads as they are just MS spruiking MS on an MS site. The targetting of Google ads can actually be quite handy, but a lot of the time it's just creepy...
  • I don't use webmails regularly, I have an exchange account that I use with office outlook. And my primary email is a gmail.com which forwards to the exchange one.
    I was considering switching from gmail.com to outlook.com, but today I was holded back by I thing I discovered in outlook:
    marking an email as a "phishing attack" it will be deleted forever... it doesn't stay on the trash folder.
    I don't like this at all. ..just my two cents.
  • Not sure why you'd want to keep something that you've trashed, but if this is a specific case why not create a folder for phishing attacks?
  • Because my goal isn't organizing phishing mails but reporting them to MS to improve their spam/phishing recognition system.
    But I still want them to be accessible.
  • Also, I'm afraid that mails automatically detected as phishing attack will be completely hided, so if the system fails and detect a safe mail as phishing I will lose it.
    There is absolutely nothing worse than losing a useful mail.
  • There is a bunch of js code if I view this article on wpcentral app.
  • I can second this. Code at the bottom of the page.
  • Wait a sec . . . Gmail man was fictional???? :-o
  • I used Gmail for a number of years after it was first in Beta, but Outlook is 10 times better, and syncs perfectly with my Windows Phone. I'd love a few of the add ons like in message translation, but Outlook's perfect for me, and my calendar & Skydrive locks in brilliantly too. Love it, battle over
  • Ditched my Gmail years ago. I'm okay with ads as long as they aren't like the creepy google ones. Outlook ill stick with.
  • I've never trusted Google, but there was a time I was convinced by friends to switch to Gmail. That didn't last long. Now I'm proud to be the only one of my friends with an Outlook.com email and a Windows Phone 8 device.
  • Hotmail, outlook, calendar, WP8, Bing, Skydrive( name as is for now). No spam, phishing, or WTF emails. They sync across all of my devices without any trouble. If I am getting targeted ads because MS is scanning my email, they are also blocking the ads.
  • Everything goes to the NSA, so I don't care anyway.   If you want privacy for your email use encryption, everything else is not private.
  • I love the targeted ads. Outlook.com will never catch up to Gmail.
  • That last statement made by the Google executive was actually very disturbing and very damning. I've been slowly transitioning to Outlook, but that statement is creepy enough that I'm going to hasten my switch.
  • I've started the switch to outlook this week. To hell with google!!
  • Yahoo mail all the way. I've been using this service since I was young. Nothing bad I can complain about this service.
  • I only use Gmail for a garbage account when I need to register to comment in a forum or something. Went to a Live account some time ago as my primary.
  • I can't switch....ive convinced myself that it would be too much trouble changing all my emails, forwarding and organization!
  • Yes - I actually would have a very difficult time switching, because Outlook.com hosted domains does not support the catch-all email addresses that Google Apps supports. I have a unique email address with each web site and company I register with, and it's simply overwhelming to try to set that all up with Outlook.com. I know that the catch-all request is relatively rare and low priority, but there have a decent number of requests for it. Sadly, I don't know if it'll ever happen.
  • well, my uni uses Gmail. although it's a .edu adress we are redirected to gmail after logging in to the intranet. Luckily we don't have ads shown there (although does google still read the email?)