Why I use Gmail

...and let's not forget the second biggest reason: Beer Goggles!

But I assure you sir, those 829 messages in your inbox are totally legit!

The longer story…
There really isn’t one. Gmail provides a service that has surpassed Hotmail  in terms of.. everything for years now.

Unless of course you think that Google is plotting to take over the world. In that case sticking with Hotmail is probably safer. 🙂

If you are interested in changing from Hotmail there are instructions on how to forward your future emails from your old address here, you can even import your old messages into you new Gmail account!

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8 Comments on “Why I use Gmail”

  1. Mikolan Says:

    Retort:

    Also, I’m not going to use a company that openly states it doesn’t give a fuck about your privacy to host my personal mail.

    • khromov Says:

      It sounds like you haven’t even read any article about what the Google CEO actually said, so let me show you one of them: http://shrtl.com/k2

      Schmidt is mainly referring to the way people expose themselves online (What with blogs, status updates on facebook/twitter etc), and how Google can be used as a tool for finding scandalous information on individuals.

      He also explains that as any US company they are bound by the Patriot Act, and that like any other search engine they do retain some information about your searches.

      Gmail, in this case is not even mentioned, but I’d assume that since they are bound by the Patriot Act they are required to turn over chat logs and attachments, just like any mail provider resident in the states.

      Truth is that you’re never safe. Even Hushmail, a Canadian-based email provider that markets its security as top notch had to spill information to the government, see: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2007/11/encrypted-e-mai/

      So as you can see, Google cares about your privacy just as much as ny other email service, but unlike the other ones they are being brutally honest with the implications of having a large part of your life and communications online.

      Cheers!
      /Stanislav

      • Mikolan Says:

        The statement is very clear, it was given after concerns on privacy were raised by the interviewer. Schmidt, upon being asked whether people should trust Google or not, gives this answer instead of outlining any sort of privacy concerns they have for their users.

        But it’s not just about this statement. It’s about Google’s policies as a whole. The watchdog group Private International ranked Google as hostile to privacy back in 2007, the first and only company which that have ranked as such: http://bit.ly/dyQVBT.

        And it gets even better, their privacy policies doesn’t even apply to incoming mail for their Gmail service!

        And while any U.S. based mail provider needs to abide by the patriot act, using one that doesn’t indefinitely store most of your data seems like a much better alternative. If you absolutely must use a U.S. provider.

  2. khromov Says:

    After revisisting my own link regarding his statement, I’d like to again iterate that his answer to the question was very broad, mainly referring to the way people expose themselves online, rather than discussing particular data retention that Google does.

    After reviewing the Private International report, I was dumbfounded at the extremely negative attitude, even outlined in their “justification” statement, quoted:

    “Track history of ignoring
    privacy concerns. Every
    corporate announcement
    involves some new
    practice involving
    surveillance.”

    This statement is not only incorrect, but it is also unfair. Google does a lot under the hood, (as an example, see Google Apps or any of their other smaller services, such as hosting common ajax libraries for the web and web optimization tools.) The only reason this quote makes sense is because the services that in some way pertain to privacy get the most attention. Street view (also quoted from the Private International report) is an interesting example, since Google has taken a number of precautions since the launch, including blocking out the faces of people.

    Another reason to the vague attitude might be because it can be considered a trade secret. Google has for a long time let users delete their search history on the search engine, stripping them of the ability to get personalized results. Google also has a restrictive privacy policy, which you can read more about here:
    http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacy.html

    There is also the Data Liberation Front, initialized by Google to let you import and export data from their services, should you find one that suits you better in the future. See: http://www.dataliberation.org/

    Applying retention policies to incoming mail seems like an impossible task as mail always have to be available, and after reviewing the Gmail privacy policy regarding deleted mail I came about this quote:
    ” Google keeps multiple backup copies of users’ emails so that we can recover messages and restore accounts in case of errors or system failure, for some limited periods of time. Even if a message has been deleted or an account is no longer active, messages may remain on our backup systems for some limited period of time. This is standard practice in the email industry, which Google Mail and other major webmail services follow in order to provide a reliable service for users. We will make reasonable efforts to remove deleted information from our systems as quickly as is practical. ”

    Google provides no exact dates for retention, but acknowledge that deleted emails may be in their backup systems for a number of time. While a fixed date (ie 90 days) would make a lot more sense than “limited period”, they are still transparent regarding their backup practices.

    • Mikolan Says:

      Again, Eric Schmidt’s comment is given as a direct response to concerns being raised regarding Google’s privacy policies, not web surfing as a whole. Schmidt could have taken this opportunity to present Google’s privacy policies and how user should be able to trust them. Why doesn’t he? I have never seen the context of the quote disputed from any reputable source.

      The Privacy International (Sorry, not Private, I had just woke up when I wrote the last response and was still kind of tired xD) Report is not meant to go into detail, for more specific reasons to why google scored lowest in the rankings see the “Why Google?” section of http://www.privacyinternational.org/article.shtml?cmd%5B347%5D=x-347-553961

      And Google does not allow you to erase your history from their logs (What you are talking about is their search personalization feature, a completely different thing), they store the ip address and search string for 9 to 18 months (They used to store it even longer) and then anonymize it (Not delete it). This might not seem like a big deal but recall the AOL leak and the problems it caused.

      Google’s backup practices isn’t what users should be concerned about regarding Gmail. It’s google’s hostile approach to privacy and whether or not they feel they can trust google with their personal mail. It is widely believed (by people including Steve Ballmer) that google’s processing of mail go beyond proper use. They are not transparent regarding this process which should worry anyone concerned with privacy.

      And let’s not forget the gmail Buzz feature, that let your contacts know who your contacts are, without your permission. See for example http://fugitivus.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/fuck-you-google/ for problems this have caused.

      I stand by my statement that no one should use gmail for their personal mail. While it is an excellent mail service in terms of functionality offered I simple cannot trust google with my personal communications, they have proven themselves far to incompetent at handling such information in the past.

      • khromov Says:

        While I began to go into the debate guns blazing, don’t you think a simple post like mine is not the proper forum to vent this kind of bitter anger and hostility you seem to feel towards Google?

        Google is a company. Their primary goal is to make money. They are not doing anything illegal, nor are they ignoring privacy practices, like I outlined when I showed you their privacy policy.

        What the CEO said and did not say in one interview is irrelevant to the larger picture, you are reading way too much into a question, 30 seconds, that could have been interpreted in multiple ways.

        The AOL “leak” (which wasn’t actually a leak) is different because they chose to make the data public without proper understanding of the implication, this is vastly different from a speculation that Google might have a data leak.

        I have the fullest of belief that Google does everything it can to not only be the best search engine, but also email provider, and so much more. And I believe that no-one ever needs to be afraid of what they do on Google, unless they are pertaining in illegal activities that may result in a court order.

        Also, I’m drawing a close to this discussion now as it is better suited elsewhere. If you are interested in continuing this debate I’d gladly do it over email. My contact information can be found under the “Contact” tab on this blog.

      • Mikolan Says:

        It seems that wordpress has a limit to the depth of discussion threads, so this will be a reply to your latest post (09/03/2010 at 20:38).

        I have no particular grudge with Google, I am simply concerned with their general attitude towards privacy, which to me is lacking. I think Google has, done brilliant work in collaboration with the FOSS community. I respect them highly in that regard.

        However when I see a post like this recommending the gmail service I can’t help but raise concern.

        The commentary on the AOL “leak” was regarding the content of the publication, not in the way it was published. Google stores similiar information (And they don’t say for how long), and a leak of such information would be devastating.

        While what Google does is legal, it does not mean they are taking the right moral choices regarding privacy.

        I find it sad you choose to not continue this discussion in an open manner. And the only contact email you list on the blog is in fact a gmail account, meaning any mail I send you will be read and stored by google for various purposes.


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