The privacy trap in the New Outlook for Windows

Microsoft’s new and eventual replacement Outlook for Windows now supports Gmail accounts but there’s a privacy trap that Microsoft does it’s best to hide.

According to Microsoft, it’s easy to add Gmail to the new Outlook, all they show is entering a Gmail address and a success message.  Missing an important step and warning to anyone using this option.

Source: extracted from Microsoft supplied images

Here’s the missing step and warning …

Sync your Gmail account
To add your Gmail account to Outlook, we need to sync your emails, contacts and events to the Microsoft Cloud

That means the connection between the new Outlook for Windows and Gmail goes through Microsoft’s servers.  Your Gmail password and all Gmail data (email, calendar, contacts) passes through Microsoft’s systems.

Anything saved or passing through cloud servers can be intercepted.  Laws of various countries (especially the US) mean that Microsoft must hand over a customer’s private data, without notice or sometimes even a court order.  A cloud service itself can use the private info on their systems (something that Microsoft has done in the past and would prefer everyone forgot).

That’s NOT how traditional Outlook (Windows or Mac) works.  Older Outlook’s make a direct connection between your computer and the mailbox (Gmail, Yahoo, ISP’s etc) without Microsoft’s systems getting in the way.  It’s also how the Apple Mail or Android mail apps work.

Using Microsoft’s servers to interact with your third-party mailboxes is nothing new.  The Outlook mobile app (for iPhone, iPad and Android) have always sent all their passwords and data via Microsoft controlled systems. warned about this when Microsoft released their mobile apps.

All traffic goes through Microsoft’s systems

The Learn More link goes to this page which has a lot on the benefits but NO mention of privacy at all. That page applies to the Outlook mobile apps too.

According to Microsoft:

“Having your mailbox data in the Microsoft Cloud lets you use the new features of the Outlook client,”

Which is true but only because Microsoft has chosen to make modern Outlook apps work that way.  Using Microsoft servers as a middleman makes software development a lot easier and cheaper for Microsoft. 

It’s not necessarily better for customers.

Do I try the new Outlook for Windows?

It’s simple to use the new Outlook for Windows, just look for the ‘New Outlook’ button at top left, should you click that button?

New Outlook is still very much a ‘work in progress‘ and it’s not just a revamp of the existing Outlook. This ‘new Outlook’ is totally different and currently lacks vital features, most notably NO offline support.

By all means try it, if you wish, but new Outlook isn’t ready for most people. Microsoft are pushing it because they need more guinea pigs free software testers.

Microsoft cloud services move to a new domain for a good reason will be using up your OneDrive quota
New Outlook now available to all

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