In response to the Perspectives column written by Charles Cooper, "Why Gmail gives me the creeps":
I think the privacy issue is a bit overblown. Yahoo once had this idea before but decided to remove such a tracking and ad serving feature because of the privacy issue. But think about it seriously; we already live in such a world (especially on the Net).
To begin with, I am a registered user at CNET. All my searches, posting on forums, and news alerts are probably monitored (and of course, I am fed with banner ads). In the real brick-and-mortar world, my bank and credit card probably know my preference for buying, eating, and watching movies.
Does this bother me? A bit, perhaps. But will this deter me from using CNET's service or a credit card? Nope. Why? Because of your integrity and reputation. I believe CNET will want to do a good job in protecting one's privacy.
I think you've just missed out on the other big threat to Google right now. No doubt Microsoft is moving in fast. But don't forget Yahoo. Who has more to lose in this war--Microsoft or Yahoo? Two of the crown jewels of Yahoo or any portal site is e-mail and search. Google already lost its relationship with Yahoo search because it acquired some search technologies. And Yahoo will be losing its Overture Account to MSN soon as Microsoft will launch its own sponsored listings.