War of Words: Microsoft vs. Google
Set to take effect on March 1st, this change will give Google the right to combine information that you've provided from one service with information from other services. According to Google, these changes will improve search, because they'll be able to get to know you better, figure out what you really mean when you type in ambiguous terms such as "Jaguar" (which could either mean the animal or the car) or "Pink" (which could either mean the color or the singer).
Earlier this week, Marketing Land wrote about a recent ad by Microsoft that's slamming Google for putting their interests first, over users. The ad, which is entitled, "Putting People First," ran in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and USA Today.
You can view it on The Official Microsoft Blog here, or read the full text of the advert below:
Google is in the process of making some unpopular changes to some of their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like "transparency," "simplicity" and "consistency," are really about one thing: making it easier for Google to connect the dots between everything you search, send, say or stream while using one of their services.
But, the way they're doing it is making it harder for you to maintain control of your personal information. Why are they so interested in doing this that they would risk this kind of backlash? One logical reason: Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser.
To be clear, there's nothing inherently wrong with wanting to improve the quality of an advertising product. But, that effort needs to be balanced with continuing to meet the needs and interests of users. Every business finds its own balance and attracts users who share those priorities. Google's new changes have upset that balance, with users' priorities being de-prioritized. That's why people are concerned and looking for alternatives.
If these changes rub you the wrong way, please consider using our portfolio of award-winning products and services
The ad then proceeds to name four Microsoft products, including Hotmail, Bing, Office 365, and Internet Explorer.
The drama doesn't stop there though (in fact, it's just beginning). After a few hours of the ad going live, Google shot back with a blog post entitled, "Busting myths about our approach to privacy." In the said post, the search giant refuted the points listed in Microsoft's ad.
Our privacy controls have not changed. Period. Our users can: edit and delete their search history; edit and delete their YouTube viewing history; use many of our services signed in or out; use Google Dashboard and our Ads Preferences Manager to see what data we collect and manage the way it is used; and take advantage of our data liberation efforts if they want to remove information from our services.
Google responded with: The vast majority of the product personalization Google does is unrelated to ads—it's about making our services better for users. Today a signed-in user can instantly add an appointment to their Calendar when a message in Gmail looks like it’s about a meeting, or read Google Docs within their email.
Google's "myth busing" goes on further, and if you wish to read the full text of their blog post, you can do so here. Marketing Land also has an excellent post that fact checks the claims made by both companies.
The bottom line is neither Google nor Microsoft is a saint when it comes to privacy. Remember that these two companies run businesses and their interests will always make their way into the products and policies that they put out there.
It basically boils down to which company you trust more; Google or Microsoft?
Image credit: michperu on Flickr