Google launches email, takes the Bill Gates defense

Mucho storage, more ads


Google will use its feted scalability skills to take on Yahoo! in the email business, according to the New York Times.

The plan is to take on the tiered pay-for email services and offer more space for free. Much more, if early reports are true: up to 1GB. NY Times hack John Markoff cites an internal Google study which the operational cost of maintaining email is estimated to be "less than $2 per gigabyte". Google will pay for this by injecting advertisements into subscribers emails.

Yahoo! offers 25MB for $29.99 a year, 50MB for $39.99 a year and 100MB for $59.99 although these packages also include features such as POP forwarding and multiple addresses for foiling spammers. According to the San Jose Mercury, which saw a preview of the service, Google will offer users 1GB of email storage.

Capitalizing on the pre-IPO frenzy that accompanies every new Google feature, the company issued a spoof press release today - of all days! - in which co-founder Sergey Brin says, "And while developing Gmail was a bit more complicated than we anticipated, we're pleased to be able to offer it to the user who asked for it."

The service is real, however. The advertisement injection has sparked fierce internal debates, reports The NY Times. "Many people inside the company are worried that users might fear that the content of their e-mail messages could be used to tailor individual advertising messages, much as ad messages are now placed on pages tied to specific responses to search inquiries."

Google's Orkut terms and conditions - Google revives discredited Microsoft privacy policy for Friendster clone - don't inspire confidence: they closely resemble a Passport privacy statement that Microsoft was forced to abandon.

Google acknowledged privacy concerns about the service by insisting that "machines, not humans" would decide on the advertising inserts.

Such a defense has worked for Google's News service. A banner on the page states that "The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program." (A program written by … you can guess. A big red foam ball.)

And it worked for Bill Gates too. At an awkward point in his testimony to during the Antitrust trial, Chairman Bill was asked to confirm that he'd written an incriminating email that had come from the account billg@microsoft.com.

"The computer wrote it," said Bill. So the next time you knock over a pedestrian, blame the machine. It works like a charm. ®

Related story

Google revives discredited Microsoft privacy policy for Friendster clone


Other stories you might like

  • It's one thing to have the world in your hands – what are you going to do with it?

    Google won the patent battle against ART+COM, but we were left with little more than a toy

    Column I used to think technology could change the world. Google's vision is different: it just wants you to sort of play with the world. That's fun, but it's not as powerful as it could be.

    Despite the fact that it often gives me a stomach-churning sense of motion sickness, I've been spending quite a bit of time lately fully immersed in Google Earth VR. Pop down inside a major city centre – Sydney, San Francisco or London – and the intense data-gathering work performed by Google's global fleet of scanning vehicles shows up in eye-popping detail.

    Buildings are rendered photorealistically, using the mathematics of photogrammetry to extrude three-dimensional solids from multiple two-dimensional images. Trees resolve across successive passes from childlike lollipops into complex textured forms. Yet what should feel absolutely real seems exactly the opposite – leaving me cold, as though I've stumbled onto a global-scale miniature train set, built by someone with too much time on their hands. What good is it, really?

    Continue reading
  • Why Cloud First should not have to mean Cloud Everywhere

    HPE urges 'consciously hybrid' strategy for UK public sector

    Sponsored In 2013, the UK government heralded Cloud First, a ground-breaking strategy to drive cloud adoption across the public sector. Eight years on, and much of UK public sector IT still runs on-premises - and all too often - on obsolete technologies.

    Today the government‘s message boils down to “cloud first, if you can” - perhaps in recognition that modernising complex legacy systems is hard. But in the private sector today, enterprises are typically mixing and matching cloud and on-premises infrastructure, according to the best business fit for their needs.

    The UK government should also adopt a “consciously hybrid” approach, according to HPE, The global technology company is calling for the entire IT industry to step up so that the public sector can modernise where needed and keep up with innovation: “We’re calling for a collective IT industry response to the problem,” says Russell MacDonald, HPE strategic advisor to the public sector.

    Continue reading
  • A Raspberry Pi HAT for the Lego Technic fan

    Sneaking in programming under the guise of plastic bricks

    There is good news for the intersection of Lego and Raspberry Pi fans today, as a new HAT (the delightfully named Hardware Attached on Top) will be unveiled for the diminutive computer to control Technic motors and sensors.

    Using a Pi to process sensor readings and manage motors has been a thing since the inception of the computer, and users (including ourselves) have long made use of the General Purpose Input / Output (GPIO) pins that have been a feature of the hardware for all manner of projects.

    However, not all users are entirely happy with breadboards and jumpers. Lego, familiar to many a builder thanks to lines such as its Mindstorms range, recently introduced the Education SPIKE Prime set, aimed at the classroom.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021