Still Using Gmail? Time to Switch

As you probably already know, Google profiles and tracks its users to an unbelievable extent. Some reports have painted Google’s practice as akin to spying on private citizens. Gmail, in particular, is reported to read every word in every Gmail e-mail, and Google uses the keywords it finds to build databases on the user and the user’s correspondents.

Scary? You bet ya, especially if you live in the United States of America. When a private company like Google behaves like the KGB and the Stasi when it comes to collecting information on ordinary citizens, it’s really scary.

The reason I mention this today is, if you’re still a Gmail user and looking for a job, you should use another e-mail provider that is less invasive. Yahoo, AOL, iCloud (for users of Apple products), your ISP, Hotmail/Outlook.com, etc. At least there have been no reports that these services read user e-mail messages in the U.S. like Google does.

There’s a practical reason for switching away from Gmail for job hunters. Some employers have reportedly become wary of Gmail’s spying practice and use filters to block out Gmail messages that may make the employers target for Google profiling (called “Scroogling” by some critics). It’s possible that some employers may block Gmail messages altogether.  I’ve heard from students who reported that when they used Gmail, they often didn’t hear back from potential employers that they’d expected to hear back from. Of course, no one can prove that those employers blocked Gmail messages, or that Google somehow blocks those messages, but why risk it?  Use a more neutral and relatively more privacy-friendly service like Yahoo. You’ll be protecting yourself from over-zealous spying as well as maximizing the chances of having your job e-mails getting across to potential employers.

(If you care about privacy when browsing the web, be sure to check out the private browsing mode available in Firefox, Safari, IE, and other browsers.)

Disclosure: I do not own shares in Yahoo or AOL. I own tiny numbers of shares in Apple, Google and Microsoft.

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