A lot has been said recently about Google's proposed e-mail system, GMail. According to the press release, GMail will offer users a lifetime, free e-mail account with 1GB (1000 MB), of storage. To give you an idea of the size difference, a free hotmail or yahoo account will give you 4 - 6 MB of free storage space. That makes GMail over 100 times bigger. Google also plans to allow you to search through your e-mails using their search tools, just like your e-mails were websites. I think this is awesome news, as I'm constantly running into storage headaches with my e-mail account, especially when I receive just a handful of pictures.

In response to this news, we've heard a lot of FUD from the privacy and competitive search / portal companies. These "experts" are concerned that your privacy may be at risk ask Google noodles through all of your e-mail text to deliver personalized advertisements to you. To me, this is nothing new. Yahoo has been handling my e-mail for years, and I have no doubt that they trawl through my e-mail in an attempt to gain some perspective on my likes and dislikes. They may not come right out and say it, and the ads that I receive may not reflect it, but I would almost expect them to do it. If they do, I'm afraid that my e-mail is not a very good source of information to learn about me. For starters, eighty to ninety percent of the e-mail I receive is spam. I get 15 - 20 messages a day filed into my bulk mail, and another 5 - 10 manage to find their way to my inbox. Next, the e-mails that I do send are rarely social. Most are to setup meetings with my classmates or to confirm a registration with a website. Even if the search engine is able to weed out the spam from the legit messages, there will be very little there to key in my buying habits.

I'm not really sure why everyone is all in a tizzy over Google offering GMail. I think it is a Good Thing. A free e-mail account that you can have for life and that allows you to store up to 1000 MB of information. Hey, if I don't want folks reading a message that I send to someone, I'll spend 37 cents on the stamp.


Jade Mason