Even though Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign against Google might have been a flop, it did raise some legitimate questions on behalf of users who might not be comfortable with Google’s algorithms scanning their private emails for frequently used keywords that it would use to sell more targeted ads. The Guardian brings us word that Google has issued an update to its Gmail terms of service where it explicitly lays out how it scans your emails and how it uses the data it gathers from them.
As The Guardian tells it, Google now acknowledges that it “scans the content of emails stored on Google’s servers as well as those being sent and received by any Google email account, a practice that has seen the search company face criticism from privacy action groups and lawsuits from the education sector.” Google insists that all the data is anonymized and that it doesn’t sell specific user data to advertising firms.
However, this practice has still made many users uncomfortable, particularly when it comes to scanning the emails of students in school who may not understand that everything they send and receive in their Gmail accounts is being tracked.
A Google spokesperson tells The Guardian that it changed the language in its terms of service so that it would “be simple and easy for users to understand” while adding that “these changes will give people even greater clarity and are based on feedback we’ve received over the last few months.”
So if you’re interested in just how much Gmail is “Scroogling” you, then you can go to Google’s terms of service to see clearly for yourself.