Google Has Most of Your Email, Even If You Don't Use Gmail

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Even if you're careful about choosing how and where your email is sent, chances are you reply to plenty of messages sent from Gmail. And, as it turns out, that probably means that Google has most of your email, whether you like it or not.

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Benjamin Mako Hill—who runs his own email server—decided to work out how much of his email Google has access to. The results are surprising:

Despite the fact that I spend hundreds of dollars a year and hours of work to host my own email server, Google has about half of my personal email! Last year, Google delivered 57% of the emails in my inbox that I replied to. They have delivered more than a third of all the email I've replied to every year since 2006 and more than half since 2010. On the upside, there is some indication that the proportion is going down. So far this year, only 51% of the emails I've replied to arrived from Google.

Image for article titled Google Has Most of Your Email, Even If You Don't Use Gmail

In other words, even if you don't use Gmail—or even go so far as running your own email server—Google has most of your email. Consider that Microsoft, Yahoo and other probably make up a large part of the remainder, and you realize that your email is largely in the hands of tech companies—not just you. [Copyrighteous via Flowing Data]

Image by Cairo under Creative Commons license.

DISCUSSION

By
StarkRG

I would be very surprised if Google kept emails that passed through their servers but weren't actually received sent by email address hosted by them.

In general Google is very good about protecting personally identifiable information. They are, by no means, perfect, so it behooves you to remain vigilant and aware of the potential for emails and other information to be used for purposes you don't want them used for. That said, considering that your data pretty much has be kept by some corporation another (unless you're willing go completely dark and drop off modern society), I'll continue to choose Google.