Wednesday, April 21, 2004


There's been lots of attention paid to Gmail, Google's new e-mail service. I shared the privacy concerns of many observers when I heard that they were planning to data-mine e-mails so they could target their ads. Seems kind of creepy, but I signed up anyway, somewhat out of curiosity and partly because I'm wowed by their 1GB of storage. I've had a Hotmail account for years and I'm always having to turf things because I'm out of space.

Anyway, I tried sending and receiving a few e-mails and sure enough, the ads are very targeted. They appear to be the usual text ads that always appear alongside their search results. If my e-mail talks about mountain biking, I get ads about mountain bikes (see screenshot). It's true that they already know a LOT about me and will know even more with this service -- should I trust them?

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