Gmail: Helpful or Creepy?

August 9, 2010 at 7:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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I’m a relatively new Gmail user, so I’m still trying to figure out how best to use the service. I’ve missed emails because Gmail bundles related messages together, and I’ve had to phone a friend to get help setting priority levels. But after a couple of months, I thought I was doing ok.

Then I hit “send” without attaching some files that needed to accompany my message. And Gmail reminded me to attach my files. At first glance that might seem like a good thing. Gmail saved me from having to send an embarrassing “Oops, forgot to include those documents you needed, here they are!” email. But how did Gmail know I meant to attach anything? It read my email. Creepy, right?

And then I realized Gmail always reads my email. And after reading my oh-so-titillating communications, it suggests links I might like to check out. For example, when I was trying to find new car insurance, Gmail recommended various insurance companies. Slightly creepy, but also kind of helpful.

I’m not sure how I feel about Gmail reading my emails and using the knowledge to be helpful. On the one hand, you could argue that it’s a pretty cool technological advancement for an email service to remind you to include attachments and help you find information you needed. But…

Gmail is a service of the goggle. And we all know how Sarah and I feel about the google! And here’s how I know the goggle is just messing with me now: This morning Gmail suggested I check out 101 Spam Recipes.


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