First they give me an awesome intern experience, and now I feel obligated to switch to all of their products and services… just kidding.
So before I get into talking about the lack of IMAP support, other complaints, and some solutions, I should probably talk about why I’m switching.
First off, the scroogled campaign is a bit exaggerated. It does feel like they sent e-mails to their example account to get the right ads for the video to show up. Now-a-days, you can opt-out of Google’s interest-based ads1. But there is some truth to the campaign.
It will happen to you
At first, I thought I was okay with the whole “Ads based on e-mail content” idea. A majority of my e-mails are from mailing lists or new letters, so ads based off my interests seem cool. That is until the event happens.
The “event” is some moment in your life where e-mails you get are completely unrelated to your interests and somewhat out of your control. Someone started sending me angry e-mails about how I was a bad friend and what not. Then I started noticing ads based on “finding new friends” and “meeting new people”. I wasn’t searching for these things or visiting any sites like that (except for maybe facebook).
This wasn’t the first time something like that had happened. E-mails to friends about going to the gym or video equipment changed my ads, and I was fine with that, but when the ads are based off of more personal or hurtful e-mails, that’s when things go bad. Imagine if you or your child had a Gmail account, and they were the target of cyberbullies? Then the ads they see when logged in with their Google Account will all be based off of what those bullies send to them. I’m not sure if Google has detection for that in their algorithms, but it is a scary thought.
So after several instances of discomforting advertising, I decided to pull the plug on Gmail.