Scroogled? The Gmail VS Outlook Debate

In the Gmail vs Outlook.com debate, Microsoft says Gmail users are being “scroogled.”

The MS ads are creepy, but is it fair to say using Gmail is the same as being scroogled?

Let’s take a look at that.

Google and Microsoft provide free web based internet electronic mail to basically anyone who is willing to sign up.

At a time when Yahoo led in Internet in free email, Microsoft and Google competed to be the leaders in search and email.

For a while, Hotmail, Microsoft’s popular email platform, edged out Yahoo to become the free email address of choice. Then in 2004, Google launched Gmail, and Microsoft has been struggling to maintain control.

Over the past ten years, Google has experimented with many different products. There was Picasa, Documents, Maps and even more than I can begin to write about. These products were smaller concepts purchased from smaller startups or created by Google, but many were offered to the public for free.

There aren’t many Google products that aren’t available for free.

On the other hand, there aren’t many Microsoft products that are available for free. For a while, there was only Hotmail.

For a year, Hotmail survived as its own company, providing free email to the World. It was actually one of the first web based email providers, and became very popular for anyone needing a quick and easy email address.

Microsoft acquired Hotmail in 1997 and marketed as its free alternative to a MSN subscription based email. Over the next 15 years, Microsoft decreased its focus on Hotmail and more on its MSN customers and eventually Outlook customers. Finally, in 2013, it discontinued Hotmail and created Outlook.com

What is the difference between Google and Outlook.com mail?

Google makes the majority of its money on the amount of free customers it has. Instead of charging everyone for products they love, they give them away and sell access to the customers to the highest bidder.

Notice, I said access, not information. They don’t hide this. The company’s name, “Google” even means an extremely large number- they built a business on being popular.

Microsoft, on the other hand, sells stuff- a lot of stuff, including even the software that I am typing this on, which is riddled with advertisement for more of their stuff.

They don’t need to sell access to their customer base to the highest bidder because they are the highest bidder. If you don’t want ads of their products you can simply buy it.

In America, if you want free services you have to give up some information. Free education requires a birth certificate, shots and a social security card. Free groceries require a birth certificate, income verification, and personal information about everyone in your household. How much do you think free email really costs?

Do Outlook and Gmail sell the information in your emails?

No, according to each company. And they don’t need to. The value of having your undivided attention online is more useful to them than whatever you write in an email. Delivering ads to you based on your interest is a service to you.  You’re going to see the ads anyway, why not make it something you might need.

Oh, and there’s always the opt-out option.

The fact that Google uses its customer base to stay in business should be measured against the value of the services they provide to those customers.

Before you decide that Gmail scroogled you, ask yourself – do you really have a problem with it?

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Jenn Marie is a part time freelance writer of over 15 years and mother of four. A former regular contributor to The Charlotte Post, her interests include health and marketing. Jenn Marie writes about buzzworthy new releases, cool gadgets, and tech innovations in consumer health products. When she isn't writing, Jenn enjoys baking, reading or hanging out with her family.