Everybody appears to be very upset about Google’s new Gmail service because it analyzes the user’s emails in order to deliver targeted ads. Yesterday, California’s Senate passed a bill that restricts Gmail by requiring it to perform all analysis in real time, i.e. without storing any information, among other things.
Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is. Last I heard, this was a free country, and nobody is forced to use Google’s Gmail service. As long as the terms and conditions are clear from the beginning and people are aware that their emails are being analyzed, I don’t see any problems. And it is not like the emails will be read by people - they will simply be automatically analyzed in order to deliver targeted ads. In fact, if I have to live with ads (and all the other email services such as Yahoo or Hotmail show these as well), I would much rather see relevant ads (particularly Google’s comparatively nice, unobstrusive text ads) than flashy, irrelevant (and often embarassing) ads.
Just my 2 cents… See here for the Slashdot discussion about the newly passed bill.