Microsoft has updated its user agreements to clarify how it stores and uses customer data, with a clear effort to position itself in a different light to rival Google.
The company explains that the new user privacy agreement makes it plain it does not use stored content as fuel for targeted ads.
“One of the things we are very focused on at Microsoft is making sure people have a great experience across all of our apps and services,” says Ryan Gavin, general manager for search, cloud, and content at Microsoft, in a blog post.
Users should expect better privacy and transparency, according to Gavin, and will not find that their stored and sent documents, images, and messages are used for the purpose of targeted advertising.
“As part of our ongoing commitment to respecting your privacy, we have updated the Microsoft Services Agreement to state that we do not use what you say in email, chat, video calls, or voice mail to target advertising to you,” he says.
“Nor do we use your documents, photos, or other personal files to target advertising to you.”
He adds that, as well as promising not to use content for advertising, Microsoft will also change the privacy statements across its Web offerings so that each has its own coverage and rules.
“We tailor our privacy statements for each product, and organize content for consistency so people can easily find it,” he adds.
“This includes a new Windows Services Privacy Statement that covers Microsoft account, Outlook.com, and OneDrive.”
The updated agreement comes into action at the end of July, and Microsoft will email users to advise them of the changes.
The move is part of an ongoing effort by Microsoft to position itself as a different firm to Google, which does use user data to promote tailored advertising, something Microsoft has criticized Google over before.
Today’s news from Microsoft follows an earlier announcement from Facebook whereby the social network will sell Web browsing data to advertisers. Facebook will also tell advertisers what apps consumers have downloaded in an effort to better target users with personalized ads.
This article was originally published on V3.