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Google's Eyes in Your Inbox

Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kevin Bankston said he "worried that the information kept by Google for advertising purposes could wind up in a gray legal area not protected by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. 'It's a back door to seeing the content of your e-mail, without seeing your e-mail,' he said. 'They completely avoid this in their privacy policy.'" But Google co-founder Larry Page had a quick answer to Bankston's criticism: "I think that our intent in this is to treat any information that is generated by your e-mail as your e-mail itself," he told The Post. "If there's a possibility of this, that's something we should definitely investigate."
The Washington Post: Google E-Mail Ad Plans Raise Fears About Privacy (Registration required)

Google is banking on reactions like these from some consumers. "Would you use a free personal e-mail service if you knew it read your messages before you did? Brant Skogrand would without hesitation. So would Mary Linneborg," The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. "Google has an outstanding reputation, and I don't feel they would do anything to harm their customers," Skogrand said. "Actually, I would be curious to see what they would try to sell me," Linneborg said. A dream candidate for spammers and Google G-mail alike.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press: Google Gmail Banks On Goodwill

_____About Filter_____
Filter looks at the day's top technology news through snapshots and analysis of what the world's media outlets are covering. Washingtonpost.com's new Mon.-Fri. feature is penned by technology reporter Cynthia L. Webb. If a technology story breaks, a company falters or triumphs, or there's a new trend in technology, Filter wants you to know about it.

_____Filter Archive_____
Wired for Security (washingtonpost.com, Jan 20, 2005)
For Techs, Are Happy Days Here Again? (washingtonpost.com, Jan 19, 2005)
Video Game Dream Team (washingtonpost.com, Jan 18, 2005)
A Failing Upgrade for the FBI (washingtonpost.com, Jan 14, 2005)
New Year's Hacks (washingtonpost.com, Jan 13, 2005)
More Past Issues
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Google Keeps Eye on the Prize

The prize, of course, is dominating everything from search to e-mail and online advertising. Google is "keen to take the battle to Microsoft and Yahoo! which have both been beefing up their own search engines in order to attack Google's prominence as a web search provider. Yahoo!, which previously used Google's search engine technology, dropped Google as the default search technology provider for its US-based sites in February, while Microsoft has been investing heavily to improve its own search technology," The Financial Times noted.
The Financial Times: Gmail Marks New Goal For Google

"Google, no doubt, will change the economics of free e-mail," Dow Jones Newswire reported. Rosing, Google's vice president of engineering, told the wire service that Google "has no plans to turn Gmail into a paid service in the future and believes it can support it handily using the same type of targeted text ads now seen on its search-results pages. Search-page advertising companies like Google and Yahoo's Overture unit are hungry for more Web pages on which to display this increasingly popular form of online advertising. Gmail offers Google a huge new source of Web pages for these ads. The idea is something that Yahoo could conceivably try to duplicate. ...On a similar vein, once the company can gather sufficient data about its users, it may also look for ways to offer them more personalized Web-search results, he said."
Dow Jones Newswires via The Wall Street Journal: Google E-Mail Service Takes Big Step Into Yahoo, MSN Turf (Subscription required)

This Is No Joke

Google's serious attempt to publicize its Gmail service almost got lost in the shuffle of April Fool's Day. The company's tongue-and-cheek press release had message posters across the Web wondering if the company was trying to pull off yet another one of it's famous April 1st ruses. And it didn't help, as I mentioned in Filter yesterday, that Google chose yesterday to "advertise" job openings at a planned lunar hosting center.

"It is April Fool's Day. We were having fun with [the lunar jobs] announcement. We are very serious about Gmail," Google's Rosenberg told Reuters. "The notion that we're actually opening a lunar office is consistent with the spirit of April Fool's Day, and, yes, it is a joke."
Reuters: Google: "Gmail' No Joke, Lunar Jobs Are
BBC News Online: Timing Makes Google An April Fool

With all the flak Google got yesterday , it may have been easy to overlook an announcement that it may offer cheaper rates for advertisers. Google said "it is adjusting prices for some advertisements that Goggle places on its partners' web pages, a move that could lower costs for some advertisers," Reuters reported.
Reuters: Google Revises Ad Pricing For Content Sites

Cloudy Forecast For Sun

Just when you thought the tech sector might be on the brink of recovery, more pink slips are flying. Sun Microsystems said today it is cutting 3,300 jobs as part of a restructuring plan.

And, in what should be the real headline, the company said it settled all of its legal disputes with Microsoft. "The agreements involve payments of $700 million to Sun by Microsoft to resolve pending antitrust issues and $900 million to resolve patent issues. In addition, Sun and Microsoft have agreed to pay royalties for use of each other's technology, with Microsoft making an up-front payment of $350 million and Sun making payments when this technology is incorporated into its server products," the companies said in a statement.

The Associated Press also noted that "Sun ... warned its net loss for the third quarter will be wider than expected. The job cuts represent about 9 percent of its work force of over 35.000. It said it expects revenue for the quarter ended March 28 to be approximately $2.65 billion. Net loss will be between $750 million and $810 million, or 23 cents to 25 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were projecting a loss of 3 cents a share on revenue of $2.85 billion."
The Associated Press via The Washington Post: Sun Cuts Jobs, Reaches Truce With Microsoft


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