Google caused a furore yesterday when they inserted a new type of advertisement in Gmail. In an effort to promote its Voice and Video Chat service, and to mark Father’s Day, the company placed a reminder into people’s Google Chat box, saying “Call Dad”.
Many people who lacked a relationship with their father, either due to them passing away or being abusive during childhood, flocked to forums on the internet to complain that it was offensive. Although it is possible to turn off this feature, it is automatically enabled so those without fathers would not have known to turn it off beforehand.
Google may have thought this was a new and unique method of advertising, but in reality it can be intrusive and deeply upsetting. After seeing the response this message has produced, we hope Google will be more considerate of their users in the future. This is not the first time Google have been criticised about privacy, so considering previous concerns it seems strange that they would make a mistake as obvious as this.