Google is tracking some user actions on Gmail. Though this might seem obnoxious at first, it can prove to be a helpful for busy Gmail users when used appropriately. For example: Gmail can be set up to remind you to attach documents. This is triggered by the use of certain keyword combinations. See screenshot below.
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Some complain that this is a breach of privacy because the Google algorithms seem to be reading email content as it is being written. But this is no different than what Gmail does when it’s serving up ads while you type your email.
“…Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email in order to target advertisements or related information. This type of automated scanning is how many email services, not just Gmail, provide features like spam filtering and spell checking. Ads are selected for relevance and served by Google computers using the same contextual advertising technology that powers Google’s AdSense program.”
Ads in Gmail – Google Help
Gmail also presented some advanced features to its service such as the much ‘celebrated’ (by some of course!) Drunk Email prevention tool called ‘Mail Goggles’. This is a service to prevent emails being sent through Gmail while one is “under the influence”. The service can also be customized to apply at different times and dates. Once activated, Gmail presents a set of mathematics problems to be solved before any emails are sent by the Gmail user. An example of the tool is given below.
With Google’s current domination of the global search market and aggressive expansion in many spheres of the internet, many are skeptical as to whether Google will keep true to its privacy policies.
In general, it would appear that many Google tools and features are geared at improving the overall user experience and maximizing the utility of Google products. How much privacy you are willing to concede is of course entirely up to you.
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