Google to Profile Gmail Users for Advertisers

The Telegraph:

A new system will read emails to learn about what users are interested in and what their priorities are, based on “signals” such as what they receive the most email about, which emails they read and reply to, and the identity of their most regular contacts.

Google’s plan will make significantly more use of users’ private data to target advertising on Gmail: until now, it has served up sponsored links based on the contents of individual emails, rather than a detailed, stored profile of the recipient.

I use Gmail and for the most part I think it’s the best free email service out there. But this news about Gmail user profiling is making me uncomfortable. What is the end game for Google? To know as much as possible about me, to deliver the most targeted ads to me, and to make a ton of money from advertisers. That’s okay. What happens when, not if, all this data about me gets leaked?

Is it time to change the setting to POP3, download all the emails, burn it unto a DVD and start looking for an alternative?