Huh? Google is happy to give me a very good free e-mail account if I let them process my e-mail and serve me ads. I'm perfectly fine with that, so I'm taking the deal. Similar deals exist for calendar and talk (for which, admittedly, I
have limited use for - my work Outlook calendar is canon and I have maybe two persons I IM with on Google Talk).
How does that make me a 'cheap bastard'? In fact, I've been looking around, and my conclusion is that if I were to pay for my e-mail with another provider, I'd be paying more for an inferior product.
I'm fine with robots looking at my email too. I'm worried about the stories of people getting randomly locked out of their gmail though. My gmail powers nearly everything. It is responsible for pretty much all communications with all of my other accounts, and that includes accounts with automated payments. If I get locked out of my email, it would be a huge burden to regain my digital life. That said, I still use gmail, but that will be only temporary if these stories continue.
As I said in another comment I'm also a free Google Apps user and have made no attempt or thought about escaping Google's "silo".
Please read my reply in the context it was given. Using Google's services when they are the best makes sense. Using Ad-sponsored services, especially in cases where something valuable like access to your data is involved, when better alternatives exist for the price of coffee, well that does not make sense.