Google Inc. has updated its 'Terms of Service' to include automatic scanning of incoming and outgoing emails to create targeted ads, customized search results and more.
The changes follows recent legal challenges that the internet giant is facing over its handling of email from privacy groups. Microsoft's recent "Don’t Get Scroogled by Gmail” campaign, draws notice to Google's email-scanning practices and states that unlike Google, Microsoft Outlook.com doesn't go through users emails for keywords to target users.
Last month a US judge decided not to combine several lawsuits that the internet giant is facing for violating users privacy. Google defended that Gmail users have signed the terms of service and therefore already agreed to have their emails read. The change in terms of service may be a move to prevent similar lawsuits in the future.
Google's updated 'terms of service' added a paragraph stating that “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.”
Google spokesman Matt Kallman said in a statement that, “We want our policies to be simple and easy for users to understand. These changes will give people even greater clarity and are based on feedback we’ve received over the last few months.”
Google had made the last update to its Terms of Service in October 2013 and included the internet giant's use of Google Account holders' profile names, photos, and actions, to help with displaying ads and for other commercial purposes.
Source: Google Terms of Service