Google Mail Controversy

According to BBC News, Gmail, the planned free e-mail service from Google, could be facing strong legal opposition in California

I suspect everybody will link to this over the next few days but it does make me smile. At the beginning of April Google announced it’s email service. This morning, BBC News reports that a US Senator is drawing up legislation to stop it on the basis of the reports which claim it will scan emails to allow targeting text advertising to be placed (similar to the other Google ad products).

I don’t know if it’s the Senator’s actual words or a BBC journalist writing but the legislation is reported to be bring put in place because the problem “is Google’s plan to make revenue from users agreeing to their incoming e-mail being scanned for targeted advertising” [source]

The keyword for me there is “agreeing”. If you agree to the scanning (which I suspect is being hyped out of all proportion) then why not get the benefits of all the extras Google are offering? There are many other email services on the market so there is no reason to sign with Google unless you want to.

I am not sure if somebody is just jumping on the bandwagon but Google’s getting a nice lot of coverage from this offering and with an IPO looming it can’t be such a bad thing. I do suspect that over the next few days you will also see a whole stack of marketing gurus commenting on the effect any controversy is having on the Google brand. You heard it here first!