Google battled back against Microsoft over the software giant's allegations against the search engine's privacy policies.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Feb. 1 fired back
updates, publishing a myth-busting blog post that addresses its rival's key
The backstory: Google Jan. 24 said it will fold 60 privacy policies
into one blanket policy, treating any user with a Google account who signs into
search, YouTube, Gmail or other Google services as the same individual across
those services. Google will also share data between those services
Congress is concerned about the changes
will help Google improve ad targeting in its software to compete better with Facebook in the
forthcoming social media war. Facebook filed a $5 billion public offering Feb. 1
Frank Shaw, director of corporate
communications for Microsoft, argued in a corporate blog post
privacy changes make it harder for people to control their own information.
Shaw is running an ad campaign blasting Google's changes in some major newspapers
Google responded that its privacy
controls have not changed.
"Our users can: edit and delete
their search history; edit and delete their YouTube viewing history; use many
of our services signed in or out; use Google Dashboard and our Ads Preferences
Manager to see what data we collect and manage the way it is used; and take
advantage of our data liberation efforts if they want to remove information
from our services," wrote Betsy Masiello, a Google policy manager
Ironically, Microsoft offers a soft
landing for users who do choose to shuttle their data from Google applications,
and Shaw reminded consumers about the alternatives.
He suggested that Google users
concerned about the company's policy changes could switch to Microsoft's
Hotmail Webmail app, Bing search engine, Office 365 online collaboration suite
and Internet Explorer browser.
Google also denied that it is changing
its privacy practices to make its data more valuable for advertisers.
Instead, Google said the vast majority
of the product personalization Google does is unrelated to ads and that the
move is about making its services better for users. This is misleading, as
Google has made no secret of that fact that streamlined privacy policies will improve its ads.
Google also denied Microsoft's
assertion that it is reading users' email, arguing that its servers scan
messages to "get rid of spam and malware, as well as show ads that are
relevant to you."
Search Engine Land's
Danny Sullivan ran through Microsoft's and Google's
points in this post
. Still, Microsoft's Shaw hopes users will try Bing,
"If you haven't tried these
Microsoft products and services, give 'em a shot," Shaw wrote. "If
you've tried them before and moved on, come on back. We've left the light on
Removed an incorrect citation Google made of a FairSearch.org statement.