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New Scroogled ad from Microsoft Targets Android, Android Developers



In the latest two editions of the ‘Scroogled’ ad campaign – a concerted effort by the company to make users aware of what it sees as privacy violations committed by Google – Microsoft forgoes its attack on Google’s search engine and focuses on Android instead.

The first of the new ads, which debuted this week, outright accuses Google of leaking information about users who download applications from the Google Play Store for Android. According to Microsoft, every time a user purchases any application from Google Play, Google notifies the developer via email of the purchaser’s information without warning the customer that they’re sharing the information first. This information, again according to Microsoft, includes the customer’s full name, email address, and neighborhood (information that any online store would give to a seller about someone purchasing an app).


While the ad doesn’t cite any cases of wrongdoing on the part of Android developers with this information, it does go on to note that, while most Android developers are trust worthy, should that information fall into the “wrong hands, who knows what they could do with that information.”

The ad also implies that developers could easily use the information that Google is providing, along with a user’s app purchases, to discern information that users didn’t explicitly give them. Microsoft points to health related applications as an example.

Following these accusations, Microsoft points out that privacy groups, and even the United States Congress, are investigating cases of consumers getting “scroogled.” The add ends with the narrator pointing out that Microsoft’s own Windows Phone operating system and accompanying app store, don’t commit these same privacy violations.

The ad’s claims of Google Play security align with the developers we talked with. However, only insomuch as this is the same information that would be shared with any online seller, such as Amazon and Etsy. It appears Microsoft’s only argument is that this practice isn’t disclosed first. The second ad also focuses on the Google Play Store, but features a couple sitting outside their house using a Microsoft Surface and discussing the topic.

Google is currently under investigation by the United States Government over privacy concerns. These particular investigations stem from the way Google’s services collect information, as opposed to any alleged distribution of data. As reported by CNME, Google has come under investigation in Europe for its recently updated Privacy Policy. Regulators in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom all are looking into how the company’s new Privacy Policy is being implemented. These investigations stem from a European Data Protection Directive that was interpreted by each countries’ regulators differently. Though, each country does have concerns, the exact nature of these concerns hasn’t been shared due to a policy to not comment on ongoing investigations. Google’s StreetView product, now available on the company’s website, Android devices, and Apple’s iPhone via the Google Apps map that launched last year, has also come under scrutiny in places in Europe where privacy is more of a concern than it is in the United States.

Read: Google StreetView comes to Google Maps on iOS

The ad hasn’t aired on television, but is part of a larger website and ongoing campaign to win over users from Google products by painting the company as loose with user’s data. The first ad in the series focused on Google search collecting data about users, while the second ad discussed how advertisements on Gmail scanned users’ emails in order to present users with relevant advertisements.



  1. spaceboy

    04/13/2013 at 4:45 pm

    I actually saw this on tv this past Monday, so it has been on tv. I rolled on the floor laughing, rewound the tv and watched it again. Later I watched it online. I am not a big fan of google. I used to really like them years and years ago when they started out and were pretty much just a search engine, but they have changed a lot. When they started to expand and branch out into electronic devices and operating systems. When I search for things, the first 10 hits are always advertisements and you can barely tell that they have an ever so slightly different colored background so you wont notice if you are not paying attention. I don’t want to have to scroll down through garbage every time I do a search. Is Microsoft taking a cheap shot? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean the shot isn’t deserved nor that it is untrue. I don’t trust anything about google anymore. I will never get a gmail account or use google chrome or buy another android product. I think scanning your email in order to advertise to you (or make ‘suggestions’) is at best an invasion of privacy, at worst at federal offense. If the federal government was doing this, there would be outrage and it would be justified. I have been using Bing for about 2 or 3 years now and I will continue to do so. Beside not getting the cheap advert hits, I actually get results that make sense rather than some of the garbage results you get on google these days after the first page of valid hits. I wont get into their unregulated garbage app store. Scroogled is a great name.

    • GaryC

      04/13/2013 at 9:34 pm

      I used to use bing until I read an independant test that showed Bing returned 5 times as many results of malware infected sites than google.

      Microsoft also automatically scan through all users emails.

    • 1206549

      04/13/2013 at 11:05 pm

      “the first 10 hits are always advertisements” Really? better check that again. I only get ads on certain search terms and there’s only one or two ads when they do. Sometimes there’s a third ad on the bottom but I don’t usually get there as most of the time, their search engine’s good enough to give me what I’m looking for on the third hit at most.

      “you can barely tell that they have an ever so slightly different colored background so you wont notice if you are not paying attention” Well, if you’re colorblind maybe. Come on. How can you miss it? Google has a white background and their ads are highlighted in pinkish yellow or something. I even use a 7-year old monitor sometimes (my school’s really poor) and I could still tell the difference. Did I mention I also have poor eyesight?

      “I don’t want to have to scroll down through garbage every time I do a search” Unless you’re using a screen that only shows two hits at a time, you won’t have to.

      “Beside not getting the cheap advert hits, I actually get results that make sense rather than some of the garbage results you get on google these days” Our experiences are quite opposite. I always get what I’m looking for in Google but not as often in Bing.

      • SearchEngineWarsAreStupid

        04/17/2013 at 11:00 pm

        spaceboy is just another bing employee trying to push their product. How much more transparent can you be with comments like that spaceboy?

        • spaceboy

          04/26/2013 at 8:26 am

          Sorry, missed your ‘insightful’ comment. I have never worked for Microsoft, an IT company or anything to do with computers or computer operating systems in my life. As my name would imply, I am an aerospace engineer. However, I bet Microsoft has excellent pay and benefits, so it probably would be a nice place to work. In reality, I am just sick of Google. I think android is a horrible operating system. It is completely fragmented across hardware providers and platforms with more versions out there then I care to count. There is no standard or quality control for hardware or apps. There is so much garbage android hardware out there (Samsung is a standout exception). Their so called ‘free’ apps are pretty much all useless and riddled with malware and advertisements. The interface is not even slightly intuitive, although I will say it looks a lot better than the iOS interface. BTW, when a company is as wealthy and powerful as Google, you cant cling to your vision of them as a cool, trendy indie rebel upstart underdog. They are every bit as much a part of the establishment as Microsoft and Apple. One of the top 10 most valuable companies in the world.

  2. Joe

    04/13/2013 at 7:48 pm

    Scroogled is a word conceived by the cynical to delight idiots. Bing is to search engines what IE is to Web browsers, utter crap. All of the above brought to you by the same people that gave us PowerPoint, Sharepoint, and now no point with these ads. Guaranteed that every fool whining about how evil Google is also has a Facebook account that they feed a steady diet of personal details. Does anyone think anymore?

  3. Miggles Martinez

    04/13/2013 at 8:45 pm

    WOW! How funny that Microsoft is showing how inferior they are by insulting the competition in a bitter taste type of way…Microsoft is getting mad that Google is raping them financially without out vasoline. Microsoft, ” you better check yourself before you wreck yourself, big dicks in your ass is bad for your (financial) health” and now they run ads such as this one because they are butt hurt. Microsofty is not as relevant, your are better off jumping out Windows or hanging it up. Microsoft was only better than Google in their best days (long gone) and their all the consumers have also moved on.

  4. AJ

    04/14/2013 at 12:13 am

    Bing couldn’t find bingiton back when that challenge was up. Bing didn’t even auto complete bingiton search term in its search bar. Google did both successfully. People thinking Bing performs better are deluded beyond help. Heck, I can search some forgotten images on Google by describing them in words. Try doing that on Bing.

  5. john warde

    04/14/2013 at 7:02 am

    Is M$ trustworthy.

  6. stevie

    04/14/2013 at 10:48 am

    I contacted Google Play about this a few days ago. They denied that they send personal information including your name and other things too Android developers. They don’t know who’s telling the truth, but the idea really really bugs me

    • 1206549

      04/14/2013 at 9:16 pm

      If you look at the video in YouTube and read the comments, there are actually a few Android developers there that said that they don’t receive names and email addresses. They only get the type of device and the city where the user lives. I know that the city thing might seem bad for some but it could actually help with some problems on some apps.

  7. Derek Schaefer

    04/15/2013 at 3:39 am

    We sell Microsoft software licenses to our customers. These licenses are for download and cloud-based software, such as the Office 365 suite. Customer names, addresses, and email are all required. Additionally, Microsoft requires the customer’s billing info, despite the fact that we are initiating the sale. That goes even further into the customer’s private life than the alleged atrocities on the Play store.

  8. paul

    04/15/2013 at 9:55 pm

    I enjoy seeing ads relevant to what I’m looking for rather than spam. I trust purchasing with Google and cannot complain. Android is an open source Operating System and Microsoft is kinda mean for forcing it’s noble users to purchase an upgrade every couple years. Google is a marketing company and they a do a pretty damn good job making money off their operating system being free. Microsoft will just copy Google’s marketing strategy one of these days.

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