Does the Ability to Mine Facebook Email Notification Data in Gmail Give Google+ an Unfair Advantage Over Facebook?
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With all the hoopla over Google+ – what with some calling it the Facebook killer, and all – it is interesting to us to note that nobody has yet stopped to question what sort of advantage Google has over Facebook by being able to data-mine all of that email that flows from Facebook to its users, via…Gmail.

Even if Google would never look at to which of its Gmail users Facebook was sending notifications – even if they were only looking at anonymous, aggregate data – how useful would it be to be able to analyze the email traffic patterns – the ebb and flow of email – from your number one competitor? Or even just to have a sense of your number one competitor’s email footprint?


To give you an idea of the sort of data that is available to Google, and the magnitude of such data, if they chose to see who with a Gmail address was receiving email notifications from Facebook, and they looked at just one account:

 

facebook-search-in-gmail

 

As you can see, this one account has received thousands of notifications from Facebook, and underneath those grey privacy blocks that we’ve added to this screen capture, there are dozens of different names, each representing a Facebook user.

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Thousands of emails from Facebook, each carrying information about both the Gmail recipient, and the Facebook user who caused the Facebook email notification to be initiated.

And this is just one Gmail account. At last count (last November) Google had 193.9 million Gmail users.

Anybody care to guess how much Facebook data is pouring into Google’s servers every minute?

 

Of course, this is all pure spectulation, but still, we find it interesting that nobody else seems to be thinking about this.

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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4 thoughts on “Does the Ability to Mine Facebook Email Notification Data in Gmail Give Google+ an Unfair Advantage Over Facebook?
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  1. There are a bunch of News of the World reporters just waiting to be snapped up by Google! Can’t help but think that Facebook is considering this possibility.

  2. good thought. They couldn’t use a specific email without clearly breaking privacy laws but they could as you say gain some pretty wild aggregate data. The fact they have contextual ads without privacy issues suggests they’d have no problems making use of aggregate data like that.

  3. Hi Joe! Note the last line of the article, which states: “Of course, this is all pure spectulation, but still, we find it interesting that nobody else seems to be thinking about this.”

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