Pam thinks Google has gone over to the dark side and wants alternatives
I want to Thank You for your valuable newsletters. It is nice to have a reliable source of honest information. However, Google is marching forward apparently wanting to ignore reasonable personal boundaries. I want out. I ran a search on POP3 free email services and discovered One possible—-Zoho. What is your opinion about this one? Do you have another suggestion for one that would work with Outlook Express as an alternative to Gmail?
Hi Pam and thank you. If you want our honest opinion we think it’s much ado about nothing. Google consolidated their privacy policies this week – although the changes won’t take effect until March 12, 2012. And this week was “Personal Privacy Week” (or something of that nature). The rabble-rousers are out in full force. Everyone needs a cause and everyone needs an enemy. Now it’s Google and Facebook taking the heat. If you’ve been around for a while – you’ll remember when Microsoft was the target of privacy zealots. We can remember when Microsoft introduced “Genuine Advantage”. Genuine Advantage checks you computer each time you download updates or software from Microsoft to ensure you’re copy of Windows is legal. Boy oh boy did the privacy zealots get all worked up over that one. They got nowhere with Microsoft – Genuine Advantage is still around but you never hear them screaming about it anymore. There are new big kids on the block to pick on – Google and Facebook are the two they love to hate.
The big uproar over Google’s announcement has to do with the sharing of user information across all Google services — Gmail, YouTube, Picasa, etc. This seems to upset many people. They’re in an uproar as if this were all something new. But it’s been done before many times, offline. Banks have been doing it for years. You have a MasterCard with a bank and a checking account and a savings account and car loan and a mortgage. Banks share customer information across many services. If you have a mortgage — there’s a really good chance that the bank holding your mortgage sold it to mortgage company and the mortgage company sold it to some other financial institution, and the only thing your bank does is collect the mortgage payment from you. They don’t tell you your mortgage has been sold – or resold. They’re sharing your personal information with another entity and you’re not even aware of it. Where are the privacy zealots?
Those who have grocery store “saver” cards have their information shared with all kinds of companies. Every time you shop and use a grocery store savings card, every item you purchase is logged and collated and stored and that information is sold to someone – usually marketers doing market research or coupon marketers who will use the information to send you coupons for products you are likely to buy.
Many cities have traffic cameras which not only record your license plate number – but your face as well. Your license plate number gives someone your name and your face shows them what you look like. All this information is stored somewhere. And we all trust the cops to keep it private. What happens when some city’s police department decides to sell your information to prop up a flagging city budget? Maybe to GM or Ford or Michelin or who knows who else?
Sharing information across services is nothing new. It’s been going on for years in the offline world. But for some reason — maybe fear of the unknown — when it happens on the Internet it gets people all riled up.
As far as Zoho is concerned – I’m not sure. We featured them before as a alternative to Microsoft Office. Zoho has a cloud-base office suite much like Google Docs. One thing that caused me pause was when I went to their login pages the https (secure server) was not secure (indicated in Chrome by a read https with a red diagonal line running through it – as shown below).
It may have been an anomaly or it may have been that their login page is not secure – or the conspiracy theorists might say Google Chrome was giving me false warning to keep me away :-). I can’t really give Zoho Mail a red or green light. I’ve never used it.
We know of one other mail service that offers POP3/IMAP (so you can send and receive mail using it in your email program), and that’s GMX. We have accounts set up there and it seems to work pretty well. You can get more information at http://www.gmx.com .
We’re not living in the pre-computer world anymore. In fact faster computers, GPS, cell phones, and cheap multi-terabyte data-storage means that more and more of our activities are going to be logged, collated and used for something somewhere. It would be financial suicide for Google to misuse even one person’s data. It would cause worldwide outrage if some person’s personal information was used by Google for any untoward purpose. It’s not going to happen.