How much of your email is with Google even if you don’t have a Gmail account?

Years ago when FaceBook (FB) was more aggressive I received weekly emails about who I might know on their network (I also received a lot of invites from "friends" who willingly submitted their contact lists to FB). Even if I don’t have an account on FB, they know a lot about me – because of my "friends". It even happened that my wife has seen photos of me partying and being tagged on FB before I came home. Not that I’m much concerned of the privacy as long as it involves serving ads and I’m not doing something stupid while being photographed :)!

Similarly to the above (how much FB knows about me even if I don’t have a FB account) this blog post laments about how much of one’s email Gmail has stored even if not having an account with them. The answer to this question from the post is:

"The answer is surprisingly large. Despite the fact that I spend hundreds of dollars a year and hours of work to host my own email server, Google has about half of my personal email! Last year, Google delivered 57% of the emails in my inbox that I replied to. They have delivered more than a third of all the email I’ve replied to every year since 2006 and more than half since 2010. On the upside, there is some indication that the proportion is going down. So far this year, only 51% of the emails I’ve replied to arrived from Google."

Thinking of it. All email I have ever sent or received is also stored on somewhere else’s servers (is anyone still using POP nowadays?). This is:

  • all email I receive is stored on senders’ servers and
  • all email I send out is stored on receivers’ servers.

Isn’t it an interesting thought that all of our email besides being stored on servers of our email provider is stored also all over the place.

The majority of us (if not all) do not check what users (that we send emails to) agreed to when setting an account with their email providers prior to sending them an email. And while for public email providers this is possible it is not possible to know the email policies of private companies. We might even disagree with the EULA on those servers! But what can we do? Stop communicating with some friends? Quite hard to achieve these days. And as long as email providers have our email they can do what they please with it (within the
law restrictions of course).

Now if one provider has half of my received and sent emails even if I
don’t have an account with them can be slightly concerning. Such provider has a pretty good knowledge about me.
But as long as they serve ads I don’t care. And I do have a Gmail
account.

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Ted

Google becomes bigger and bigger. It owns email(gmail), browser( chrome), social network( googleplus), video(youtube) and so on. It therefore owns the ability to know any individuals privacy.

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mkljun

I agree (I guess I always do :)) to a certain degree. For G as a privately owned company of which purpose is to answer to stakeholders as well as to costumers (otherwise we wouldn’t be with them or would we) is perfectly reasonable to expand their services and a user base as a consequence (which equals more adds and more revenue).

If touching the conspiracy side of view we might call their well designed products a lucrative bait for costumers – of which only purpose is to serve the shareholders. But I don’t believe it. I still think that G designs its products with users in mind and they do serve also the OSS community.

For me, I’m using FF as my main browser. My Gmail and YouTube accounts are separated and I’m not active on G+ (I actually have an account only to backup photos on my phone and even these get deleted once they are safely archived on two of MY hard drives). Maybe I just don’t want to have all eggs in one basket or maybe I’m (slightly) paranoid deep deep down in my unconscious part and I just don’t admit it :). Who knows.

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