After reading the email I found, at the top of my inbox, an ad for company specializing in ridding Californians of bats in their homes. Given that I live in Massachusetts, it was an odd ad to get. But Google had used my current location information, along with the mail from my brother about bats in a cave, and came up with that ad for me.
Needless to say, I didn't click. On the one hand the ad was exceedingly creepy, because it showed just how much information Google gleaned about me. On the other hand, it was reassuring to know how ineffective and crude such targeting can be.
Still, we can't count on ineffectiveness lasting forever. Microsoft is right in this campaign. And Outlook.com doesn't snoop on your email in the way that Gmail does.
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