Do you use Gmail? What about Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, or any of the other “free” e-mail options? Wait; you’re surprised by my use of quotes on the word free?

You’ve probably noticed that when you send e-mail using the services I mention they get appended with ads. You may have noticed that the ads are smart, too; they aren’t random, but refer to products or services that you and your correspondents might be interested in. Well, hold on to your hat:

Gmail, Google’s free, previously-by-invitation-only e-mail service, has a very cool new feature built in: if you use Gmail, when there’s a link to something stored in Google Docs, hovering over that link will pop up a preview of that document. Cool. A time saver. Real Business Change.

See what isn’t free here? While giving you something that makes your day just . . . a . . . bit . . . easier . . . , Google is also roping you into using Gmail, which, while the best of the bunch, is stored in their servers, controlled by them, etc. They’re sucking you in. Again.

I don’t wish to go off on Google for this, and I use their stuff everywhere, all the time. I do want you to keep in mind just what you give up if you blindly start using Google’s every new toy.

Have a great weekend!

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