Google filed an amended initial public offering yesterday that added privacy concerns to its list of risk factors that might hurt the company's prospects.
The filing cited the privacy uproar caused by Google's announcement in April of its free e-mail service, Gmail. In exchange for 1,000 megabytes of storage and the ability to search through e-mail messages, Gmail will scan incoming e-mails to match them up with keyword advertisers, whose listings are shown on the right side of the screen.
Also amended is the founders' "Owners Manual" included with the filing.
GMail is taking off well, from what I can see. The privacy issue is overblow.
If your data is stored on someone else's server, in whatever form (be it e-mail, or any other form of data storage online), it is inherantly prone to being "snooped" by the owner of that server.
(NB: At one point, I was decidedly creeped out by the GMail program, then took a closer look at it, and really thought out the issues involved, and decided anything in a GMail account was no less private than any other online e-mail service).