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Google Email Service and Privacy Concerns

Google’s free e-mail service has been derided as an obnoxious privacy invasion that will suck up vast amounts of user data and deposit information into a massive database that never disappears.

And that’s before it’s even officially available.

The Internet search leader says its computers will merely be scanning e-mail so it can place relevant and nonintrusive text ads next to messages. That’s how Google plans to make a buck — and be able to offer the service without charging the user.

Read more…While privacy advocates pontificated, lawmakers legislated and Google posted notices about how important privacy is, I got a chance to try out Web-based Gmail. I was generally pleased, though it’s not yet a finished product.

As for privacy, there are a lot bigger fish to fry as messages travel from computer to computer across the Internet and into the recipient’s Google account.

The privacy debate tends to obscure assessment of other Gmail attributes — namely usability, storage and search. In most of these areas, Google trounces other free e-mail services, including those offered by Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc.

Gmail’s most impressive feature is its 1 gigabyte of storage per user. It makes Microsoft Hotmail’s 2 megabytes (1/500th) seem stingy, as well as Yahoo Mail’s old limit of 4 megabytes, which will soon be boosted to 100 megabytes.

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