Earlier in the year, I talked about privacy – how so much of what you do online (and even in the real world) is tracked – like you’re being watched.
Some people find it worrying – either just because they don’t like the idea of other people or organisations “watching” them or because they’re worried about what can be done with the information. (Worried with good cause in some cases, it turns out.)
I even published a book about privacy and what to do about it.
One of the things that lots of people have been worried about is the way Google (and some other organisations) have computers that “read” your emails – usually so they can show you adverts related to what you’ve put in your emails.
That only works if you’re using their email system, of course. For example Google can only do it if you’re using gmail, Yahoo could only do it if you have a Yahoo email and so on. (It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a PC, a tablet or a smartphone, though.)
Well, the good news is that Google have announced that they’re going to stop doing it. They haven’t said exactly when – the way they put it is “later this year”.
(I really don’t think our book about privacy swung it, but it’s nice to day-dream that it might have been.)
I think this is good news, as it’s something lots of people were really concerned by. After all, when you send an email, you want it to stay private. All right, it wasn’t human beings reading your emails, it was only computers, but it still made people feel uneasy.
Cynics have suggested that it turns out that targeted adverts based on what you say in emails doesn’t work as well for Google as targeting adverts based on what webpages you’ve visited and so on- and that’s why they’ve stopped. Who knows for sure what the real reason is? My guess is that it’s not worth the effort – rather than keep on doing it for little or no gain they’ve decided to save the effort. But that’s just my guess.
As I say, I think it’s good news, but I should be clear: it doesn’t mean your emails can’t be read at all. For a start Google will still scan emails for viruses and other nasties. It’s also possible for your broadband supplier to scan what you send (if you’re sending the email from home – and if they want to) and in a lot of cases it’s fairly easy for a hacker to read emails as you send them (and in some cases even change them).
But it’s a step in the right direction.
How you can help me tidy up our warehouse…
I can hardly believe it’s July – half way through the year!
And summer is always a (relatively) quiet time for us. Lots of people off on holidays, outside enjoying the lovely
So it’s a good time for us to get the warehouse organised while it’s a little bit quieter. With being so busy lately, we’ve ended up with it full to bursting. It could do with tidying up.
So I’m going to do some special clearance offers – to make a little bit more space by selling the last copies of a few books (and videos) that were first published a little while ago (they have been updated since, though).
The first one is a video course – two sets of videos that go together, called Tame Your PC and Tame the Internet. (Both are available for Windows 10 or for earlier versions of Windows.)
You might not have known we do videos as well as books – basically you get to see exactly what to do – like a tutor showing you, taking their time and explaining it nice and clearly.
If you have a Windows PC, this really is one of the best ways of really getting to grips with the basics of it.
And as it’s a clearance, we’re selling them at half price.
The only snag is we don’t have that many and I fully expect them all to go – possibly fairly quickly. And once they’re gone, that’s it, we won’t be printing any more.
So if you’re at all interested, you can have a look at the information I put together before (and if you’re interested, order a copy on our usual free trial). Here it is: the full information and how to order.