Microsoft Targets Google's Privacy Policy with New Ad Campaign

Google has faced quite a bit of criticism over its new privacy policy introduced just last week. Things seem to have died down over the last few days, but Microsoft is ensuring users don't forget about the changes with a new ad campaign that it will be running in major newspapers over the next week. The advertisement was introduced via this blog post from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications at Microsoft. Shaw writes that the changes Google announced make it harder, not easier, for people to stay in control of their own information.

"We take a different approach – we work to keep you safe and secure online, to give you control over your data, and to offer you the choice of saving your information on your hard drive, in the cloud, or on both," he said, adding that Microsoft has 'award winning alternatives' to Google's products for those that don't like the changes. "And to help remind people of these alternatives, we’re placing a series of ads in some major newspapers this week," he finished.

According to the Verge, the advertisements will appear in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and USA Today. Shaw posted the advertisement in full on his blog posting, too, and it shows that Microsoft isn't pulling any punches.

"Google is in the process of making some unpopular changes to their most popular products. Those changes, cloaked in language like "transparency," "simplicity" and "consistency," are really about one thing: Making it easier for Google to connect the dots between everything you search, send, say or stream while using one of their services.

But, the way they’re doing it is making it harder for you to maintain control of your personal information. Why are they so interested in doing this that they would risk this kind of backlash? One logical reason: Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser."

Microsoft goes on to say that while there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to improve the quality of an advertising product, that effort needs to be balanced with continuing to meet the needs and interests of users. Businesses that find their own balance will attract users with similar priorities, says Microsoft, but Google's new policies have upset that balance. Redmond then encourages users to try Hotmail, Bing, Office 365, and Internet Explorer if the changes 'rub you the wrong way.' You can check out the full-page ad here.

Just a few days after it announced the changes to its privacy policy, Google attempted to combat the negative response with a new blog post to clarify the changes. The search giant said that it wasn't all of a sudden collecting more data than before: "Our new policy simply makes it clear that we use data to refine and improve your experience on Google — whichever products or services you use. This is something we have already been doing for a long time." What's more, the company says users can still control their data by switching off search history, not logging in at all (for services like Maps, YouTube and Search), and switching Gchat to off the record. Google even suggests users can go as far as using separate accounts for each service. "You can use as much or as little of Google as you want," the company wrote. "For example, you can have a Google Account and choose to use Gmail, but not use Google+. Or you could keep your data separate with different accounts -- for example, one for YouTube and another for Gmail."

Are you upset by Google's changes to its privacy policy? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • jhansonxi
    Translation:
    Our spying is much nicer than Google's.
  • Anonymous
    Relax. All Google does is to look at who you are hanging out with, and what you typically search for. It will then be able to use these information and make searching for porn more efficient for you. ;)
  • Other Comments
  • SR-71 Blackbird
    Google Music is a great cloud music choice!
  • omega21xx
    Google music is one of the best if not the best cloud music choice. Having music in the cloud is the only practical thing i would ever use "the cloud" for.
  • jhansonxi
    Translation:
    Our spying is much nicer than Google's.