People concerned with online privacy had a field day last week when it was discovered that Microsoft accessed a French blogger’s Hotmail account and read his emails in order to assess his involvement with an alleged theft of Windows trade secrets. As numerous reports pointed out, Microsoft’s Hotmail and Outlook.com terms give the company the right to access and read users’ emails, and bloggers lashed out at Microsoft as a result. As it turns out, however, Microsoft isn’t the only tech giant that reserves the right to read your private correspondence. More →
Google is starting to get serious about making sure your Gmail messages are secure. The company announced on Thursday that it is making all Gmail messages go through an encrypted HTTPS connection that will prevent anyone else from reading them but their intended recipient. Google has made HTTPS its default setting for users since 2010 but it’s apparently decided to make it the only option in the wake of the massive NSA spying scandal revealed by leaker Edward Snowden last year. More →
The days of endless marketing spam are finally coming to an end. ITworld reports that Google is finally ready to roll out its handy unsubscribe button, a link appearing at the top of any promotional email which will prompt your Gmail account to automatically send a message to the sender and request your removal from the list of recipients. The additional link should streamline a tedious process which has plagued email users for years. Google believes that with the unsubscribe link prominently displayed at the top of the email, users will refrain from marking every unwanted message as spam. When a sender is repeatedly sent to the spam folder of hundreds of recipients, Google begins to take notice, and the offending business could be penalized. In the end, the new tool could be a win for both marketers and consumers.
The recent breach of Yahoo’s Yahoo Mail servers is the latest in a string of high-profile hacks that have taken center stage in the tech media lately. It seems that no service is safe from malicious hackers, who constantly come up with terrifying new ways to steal your data. Of course it’s not just wide-scale hacks we have to be afraid of — our various online accounts are always at risk. Google’s Gmail service is hugely popular so it’s often a target for hackers on the prowl. And considering how awful our passwords often are, hacking into Gmail isn’t always much of a challenge. As Tech2 noted on Friday, however, there’s a pretty easy way to find out if your account was hacked without waiting for your friends to email you asking why you’re suddenly peddling Viagra on behalf of a shady Vietnamese pharmacy. More →
Google on Thursday unveiled a new Gmail feature – emailing Google+ users whose email address you actually don’t know. Moving forward, Gmail will suggest Google+ connections as recipients when a user composes a new email, without revealing the recipient’s email addresses to the sender until the recipient either replies to the email or follows the sender. While some Gmail users may welcome the feature, others may see it as a privacy threat… and of course Google has enabled it by default. Thankfully, there’s a way to prevent random Google+ strangers, companies or services that may abuse this feature from emailing you using solely your social network profile.
Gmail’s pop-up windows for composing emails have been fairly polarizing among many longtime Gmail users who would like to see Google bring back the old full-screen composition view as the default option. Those users are in luck, however, as CNET reports that there are two new Chrome extensions that do for Gmail what many Windows 8 apps did for Microsoft’s operating system: They restore a beloved feature that many feared was gone for good. Both the Classic Gmail Compose extension and the Retro Compose for Gmail extension bring back the old full-screen compose page and they do so while playing “nice with other Gmail extensions as well as Gmail’s new inbox tabs,” CNET says. If these extensions catch on, it will be interesting to see if they spread to Firefox, Internet Explorer and other browsers.
Earlier this week, Google adopted a new strategy and is now placing targeted advertisements in the inboxes of Gmail users. The company is rolling out a redesign of the Gmail interface that separates mail through different tabs, such as Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. In what appears to be an effort to increase revenue from its hugely popular service, Google is also placing advertisements disguised as emails under the new Promotions tab. Naturally, users aren’t happy with the company’s new policy — but luckily, there is a simple way to get rid of the new ads. More →
Google has started rolling out its new Gmail interface to millions of users. In what appears to be an effort to increase revenue, the company is also placing advertisements inside Gmail inboxes. The redesigned interface separates emails through different tabs, such as Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. There have been reports that users are seeing advertisements inside the “Promotions” tab in their redesigned Gmail inbox. Google has always placed advertisements alongside emails, however having ads in the inbox is a completely new practice. The company noted that “ads are based on information from your Google account,” noting that users can control the ads they see by changing their settings. More →
Google (GOOG) has run into its own share of user privacy controversies in the past, but that hasn’t stopped the company from putting its foot down when it comes to giving law enforcement officials access to its users’ Gmail accounts. Per Ars Technica, Google spokesman Chris Gaither said flatly this week that Google requires “an ECPA search warrant” in order to “compel us to produce content in Gmail.” This is significant because, as Ars writes, law enforcement officials can often access private emails without first obtaining ECPA warrants, as with the recent sex scandal involving former CIA director David Petraeus “in which intimate e-mails were revealed despite the lack of any criminal action.”
Google (GOOG) announced on Monday on the Official Gmail Blog that its free Gmail voice calling service will be extended through 2013 in the U.S. and Canada. The company has provided free domestic calling within the U.S. and Canada for the last two years, further extending the complimentary service repeatedly just before the new year. Google product manager Mayur Kamat didn’t detail why the company is extending the service in his post on the company’s blog. It’s still unclear why Google is keeping free Gmail voice calls separate from its Google Voice service bit either way, free is free and we’re not complaining.
Google (GOOG) on Friday announced plans to no longer support a variety of services in an effort to renew its focus on “creating beautiful, useful products that improve millions of people’s lives every day.” The changes will begin on January 4th when the company shuts down several less popular features in its Calendar service, including the ability to create a new appointment and check the calendar through text messaging. Google will also discontinue support for its Sync service, which allows users to access Gmail, Calendar and Contacts through Microsoft’s (MSFT) Exchange ActiveSync protocol. The service will be shut down for new consumers on January 30th, although the company will continue to support Sync for existing connections and its business, government and education customers.
Users took to social networks on Monday to vent their displeasure with Google (GOOG) following a 40-minute disruption of service affecting the company’s Chrome Web browser and Gmail service. It was previously unclear what caused the services to simultaneously crash and some suspected the company was hit with a denial-of-service attack. Google engineer Tim Steele took to the company’s developer forums to clear up the confusion and confirmed what some developers had already suspected: The reason for the crash had to do with the Google Sync servers getting overwhelmed following a change in the code, not a DDoS attack. More →