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There's no free lunch when it comes to Google's Gmail

Sharon Gaudin | Aug. 16, 2013
Privacy hubbub sparks online, but users aren't expected to ditch Gmail.

Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group, said he doesn't see this ruckus as something that will drive people to abandon their Gmail accounts.

"Free email is paid for in some way -- Google mines it, others use it as a way to sell you on additional services they provide. You pick your poison," he added. "The value of your profile is hidden from you and then you effectively exchange it for a set of services.... Google is incredibly profitable, suggesting that value is much higher than we likely realize."

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said that since people actively click a link or check a box saying they accept Google's terms of service, it's hard to complain when the company does what it said it was going to do.

"I do not think very many users will leave Gmail over this," he added. "As we have seen with other publicity over privacy [issues] with Facebook and other social media services, these flare-ups rarely result in lost users."

Enderle noted that people need to be more aware of what they're agreeing to in the first place.

"People should recognize that free comes with a cost," he added. "If they don't know what the cost is, it would be wise to find out."


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