What if Yahoo used Gmail?

The privacy implications of Google are starting to become really frightening. Gmail, Calendar, Search, Chat. They could (if they wanted) spy on nearly every aspect of my life.

How do we know that this isn’t happening right now? The Patriot Act blocks companies from disclosing the fact that information has been given to the government. What if there were a rogue Google employee with access to backups?

What ever every Yahoo employee migrated to using Gmail? Would Google be able to resist spying on them?

  1. Don’t forget that Google’s core business covers the initial search, and then the click to the destination page which contains Adsense ads and quite possibly Urchin analytics tags. They get very detailed behavioral information on a ton of web behavior, too. If you’re logged into Gmail while you search and surf (and possibly even if you’re not)… all that is personalizable.

  2. Ethan’s point is correct about connecting the data. However, your ISP could be warehousing all this information as well. Before any data goes anywhere on the internet it runs through your ISPs servers. They could be watching every byte.

    Of course if it were encrypted it would be gibberish.

    Wherever you host your mail, whoever you search with will have your information – that is just the way it is.

    The question is do you trust them or more precisely what do you trust them with. If I’m doing some unencrypted then I just assume the world could see it one day.

  3. Lets go even further than Ethan hypothesis and just come out and say that they are actually doing this already. See the reference in my blog posting to Google and BSkyB’s recent deal:


    I knew it was just a matter of time before this irresistable fountain of data would be tapped into by Google. Now Kevin’s point about the gov’t leveraging the Patriot Act to access this information definitely falls w/in the context of those laws.

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