GMail to host corporate emails?

The ZDnet Google Blog has a posting that suggests Google Mail may in the future offer a domain hosting service. Such a service offering, which would compete with Yahoo’s small business email hosting offering, would allow a small business to use Gmail as their email “server”. Personally, I think such a service would not appeal to anything but a very small business. After all, Google’s privacy policy allows the company to sell its assets subject only to providing notice to users before they become subject to a different privacy policy. For a medium or large business entity, I don’t think reliance on a “privacy policy” is sufficient. Such an entity would likely require very definitive and non-modifiable confidentiality and privacy obligations before entrusting their email hosting to a third party.

Interestingly, I note that changes Google’s privacy policy between July 1, 2004 and October 14, 2005 included expanding the circumstances in which it can use or disclose a user’s information. The July 1, 2004 version provided, in part, that could share such information where:

We conclude that we are required by law or have a good faith belief that access, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public.

This portion of the privacy policy was expanded to now read:

We have a good faith belief that access, use, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to (a) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request, (b) enforce applicable Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations thereof, (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, or (d) protect against imminent harm to the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public as required or permitted by law.

I wonder how this change conforms with Google’s commitment in its privay policy that provides:

Please note that this Privacy Policy may change from time to time. We will not reduce your rights under this Policy without your explicit consent, and we expect most such changes will be minor.