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Google claims Gmail users have no expectation of privacy

The recent case of Ed Snowden has raised concerns over how vulnerable electronic communications are to surveillance. Google has made it clear that people who send or receive e-mail via Gmail should not expect their messages to remain private.

In a 39-page motion filed in June to have a class-action data-mining lawsuit dismissed, the Web giant cites Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 Supreme Court decision that upheld the collection of electronic communications without a warrant.

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“Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient’s [e-mail provider] in the course of delivery. Indeed, ‘a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.'”

Plaintiffs in the case contend that Google’s automated scanning of e-mail represents an illegal interception of their electronic communications without their consent. However, Google, which uses automated scanning to filter spam and deliver targeted advertising to its users, noted that plaintiffs consented to the practice in exchange for the e-mail services. Google goes on to say that courts have held that all e-mail users “necessarily give implied consent to the automated processing of their emails.”

Upon its introduction in 2004, Gmail was immediately criticised by privacy advocates and software for estate agentslawmakers alike as a horrific invasion into Internet users’ privacy. Critics contended that it should be illegal for a company to scan the text of its customers’ e-mail correspondence and display relevant advertising.

E-mail users’ privacy has taken on greater attention with the case of Snowden, who is wanted by the U.S. for exposing top-secret documents to the media about the National Security agency’s surveillance practices. Rather than possibly compromise its customers’ privacy, an encrypted e-mail service linked to Snowden shut down last week. Saying it could “see the writing on the wall,” another encrypted e-mail service shut down within hours.

We at 4pm use Gmail so we’re very interested to hear about this! Do you feel your e-mails are private and confidential?? Let us know what you think.

New Gmail Inbox

 

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These days everyone is using Gmail. It really is quite handy, as a Google account holder you are not restricted to just the mail function you can also write documents, create lists and even design presentations.

The only disadvantage Gmail has had so far was the lack of organisation of the individual emails. But wait what about the Priority Inbox. For those of you who weren’t aware of this function the Priority Inbox subdivides all the incoming emails into three categories, the most important, middle and bottom section. In order to sort your messages to the different sections it tries to analyse them. It does this by looking at how often you opened and replied to emails from certain contacts.

The new Inbox has basically the same concept. However it subdivides all your messages into several categories, Primary (messages from real people), Promotions (advertisements), Social (Twitter and facebook), Updates (certain notifications, bills), and Forums (mailing lists like from mailchimp). Each individual section shows, how many unread messages are in it.
Basically this concept is way easier than the priority box, as it doesn’t try to find out which messages are more important to you.

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This update will be available for all Gmail customers within the next few weeks and it also includes a version for Android and iOS apps.

What are your thoughts? Do you think this will be a useful update?
4pm hope your Monday wasn’t too tough!

7 Reasons You Should Be Using Google Apps

 

 

1. Collaboration and Sharing of Documents

Google Apps have taken advantage of the speed and accessibility of cloud computing like never before. Google’s popular products such as Gmail and Google Docs allows your employees to communicate and interact with each other seamlessly. With Google Apps you can navigate and find your documents easily as well as allowing sharing and collaboration on your projects. This collaboration and sharing aspect of Google Apps if particularly useful especially in reducing document duplications and differences in document versions.

 

2. Cloud Computing

Google Apps is a server side application which runs entirely as a cloud based application so you can pick up where ever you left off on any Mac, PC or mobile device. In addition to this your changes are all saved automatically so even if your computer crashes you won’t loose any of your information.

 

3. Cost Effectiveness

If you have a small company with less that 10 employees then you can run Google Apps for free, however there are limited capabilities. But otherwise its only $5  a month per user or $50 per user a year. For $50 per user per month you get plenty of features you get an unlimited number of user accounts, access to all of Google’s applications, 25 GB of e-mail storage per employee, 24/7 customer support, and a 99.9 percent network uptime guarantee.

 

4. Event Syncing Through Google Calendar

Google calendar allows multiple employees to post calendar events to the same calendar so other employees can see and edit these events accordingly. In addition the calendar can be colour coded so changes are evident as well as differentiating between employees.

 

5. The Google Apps Marketplace

The Google Apps Marketplace gives you access to plenty of third party apps that you can utilise and integrate into your current apps. For example, Intuit Online Payroll, allows you to pay employees directly from Google Calendar and provide them online access to paystubs.

 

6. Substantial Inbox Storage

With Gmail you get 25GB of email storage, which was designed to reduce the amount of deleting you’ll have to do. As well as this there is a powerful search functionality which allows you to find and locate your emails quickly and easily.

 

7.  Be Green

Moving to Google Apps will significantly reduce your companies spend on electricity and IT infrastructure. Apps is powered by Google’s energy-efficient data centers, which means less energy and carbon-intensive than on-premise servers. So moving your email to the cloud (Gmail) could make you up to 80x more energy efficient.

 

For more on Google Apps check them out here.

 

Do you use Google Apps for your business? And how do you like it if you do? If not what are you using?