Gmail: Can't stop loving you.
So, apparently I missed the memo: Gmail is evil. It scans your e-mail messages for keywords that then decide what ads are displayed when you log on.
Well, the cyberhysteria is nothing if not predictable. Remember when cookies first started invading our computers? Those were (continue to be?) seen as the second coming of Hitler, too. But, I must admit, I like going to sites and having them tailored to my usage. And, of course, I have my browser set so that I have to agree to each cookie before it is downloaded onto my computer.
As with cookies and P2P and MSN Messenger and filling out any form online, it's up to individual users to make the choice whether or not to let someone else violate your privacy and find out that you like porn. And, in my case, I don't mind that my e-mail is being searched by some bot. Gmail is better than Hotmail, that's for sure. And Hotmail's antispam filters search my e-mail text already... (Plus Google's text ads are so much less offensive than pop-ups and banners.)
I understand that a number of people are worried about Google's Privacy caveat: "Please be aware, however, that we will release specific personal information about you if required to do so in order to comply with any valid legal process such as a search warrant, subpoena, statute, or court order." Well, sorry, but that's the law. If they have a search warrant, the police can come search your house and your harddrive as it is...
The Tinfoil Hat Brigade (I was a card-carrying member back when Napster was introduced) complains now, but in six months time they'll all be on board. Bwaa-haa-haa!
[Paul Boutin's got a good pro-Gmail piece on Slate.]