Normal service has been resumed – sorry
From an e-mail security point of view, I can’t help but feel that GoogleMail is a bit.. well.. dodgy..
See the thing is, when you mouseover a link, it tells you the site that the link refers to. You can right click and copy that link as you would any other – it is just a link. Upon inspecting the HTML, the code is still the same – just the href and target properties within an <a …> tag.
And yet, you click the link, and up pops a window that initially has a Google URL. Which then redirects you. Effectively, Google know exactly which links in which e-mails get clicked and by whom, and potentially store that information. Now I don’t really have an issue with that, because I don’t really imagine that they’re using that information for sinister purposes.
What does bother me, however, is the fact that they are basically intercepting the normal browser operation of clicking a link, and doing something else. They’re not sending me to that page at all – they’re sending me to their own page, which is then trusted to forward me on to the relevant site. And there’s no transparency there.
I’m sure they don’t do anything wrong with that power, of course. But it’s a slippery slope, letting users believe they’re getting X, giving every impression of giving them X, when actually you’re doing it your own way, through a mechanism that most users won’t even notice, let alone understand.
Ethics, anyone? :o)