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On April 14, Google formally acknowledged via a Terms of Service update that Gmail messages, both incoming and outgoing, are now being automatically scanned for the purpose of creating targeted ads. If that alarms you, keep reading!

Last month, a U.S. judge ruled that the courts would not combine the various lawsuits accusing Google of violating privacy rights into a single class action suit. Why are users suing Google over privacy rights? Because the company now admits that it scans the messages of its 425 million active email users – not just when the messages are in transit, but also when they are stored on Google servers. Google argues that users, who agree to terms of service “implicitly” (if not passively), should recognize this practice as part of the email delivery process.

Gmail’s Terms of Service now state, “Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”

Users have a history of rolling with the changes when it comes to Google’s increasingly looming presence in their private lives – but naturally, some will decide that the company has finally gone one step too far. Those users, specifically business users, will need to find a new email support service –preferably, one that commits to a “zero knowledge” policy. They can find it in outlook2go.

outlook2go is a hosted Microsoft Exchange email service that caters to small and mid-sized businesses. The company offers three service tiers, with plans that start at only $6.95 a month per user. The highest tier includes HIPAA and FINRA compliance and encrypted email delivery – plus, the zero knowledge policy that Gmail refuses to offer.

For businesses that want to leave Gmail behind, outlook2go is offering the opportunity to try its product for free. You can request a 30-day, risk free trial of this hosted Microsoft Exchange email service by signing up at http://outlook2go.com.

Article originally posted on outlook2go blog – Google’s New Privacy Policy, Users Seeking Alternatives for Hosted Email

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Updated August 2016 - Matt Dubois