Email Intervention vs. Gmail Man – Google and Microsoft Battle Over Email Users
While checking my Gmail inbox last week, I noticed a link on the upper right corner of the screen which says – “Switch friends to Gmail“. I got curious so I clicked on it and discovered that it was a campaign that encourages Gmail users to do an “email intervention” and save their family and friends from out-of-date email.
The video features an Intervention Specialist named Dr. Richard Muscat who highlights the many advantages of using Gmail – free phone calls, free SMS and video chatting, stuff that you can use to persuade others to switch to Gmail. Although it doesn’t explicitly mention that this “email intervention” is intended for people who use Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail, it’s safe to assume that this video is intended for those users.
Email Intervenion Video
During the weekend, I found out that some folks from Microsoft have produced an anti-Gmail spoof video entitled “Gmail Man” which was first shown to people attending the Microsoft Global Exchange conference a couple weeks back and later “leaked” on YouTube. The video features a mail man called the “Gmail Man” who is seen opening, sifting and reading people’s private mail for the purpose of finding “keywords” to match and display targeted or relevant ads.
Gmail Man Video
As you can see from the video, it is clearly an attempt on Microsoft’s part to promote Microsoft Office 365, emphasizing that unlike Gmail, their product doesn’t scan user’s emails to display unsolicited ads on their email inbox.
I know that many people who are concerned about their privacy stay away from Gmail and other Google products. Personally, I’ve been a Gmail user for several years now and the issues brought up by the “Gmail Man” video doesn’t bother me. I don’t mind that Google scans my emails to look for keywords to be able to show me a relevant ad. Most of the time, I use a third-party email client – Thunderbird so I don’t see any of those ads. I also prefer Gmail over other webmail providers because I can be sure that all the emails I send out will reach their designated recipients and at the same time I’ll receive all the emails sent to me. I know a lot of people who use Hotmail who never received certain important emails that they were supposed to receive. Aside from that, Gmail has lots of options & added features and the most important thing for me is, it has the best spam filter. I’d rather have targeted ads than having my inbox filled with junk emails.
What do you think of the Google Email Intervention campaign and the Microsoft Office 365 “Gmail Man” video? Which webmail provider are you currently using? Is Gmail too intrusive for you? After watching the videos, did any of those videos made you decide to switch from your current webmail provider? Please share your thoughts.