For almost 15 years, I have run my own email server which I use for all of my non-work correspondence. I do so to keep autonomy, control, and privacy over my email and so that no big company has copies of all of my personal email.
A few years ago, I was surprised to find out that my friend Peter Eckersley — a very privacy conscious friend who is Technology Projects Director at the EFF — used GMail. I asked him why he would willingly give Google copies of all his email. Peter pointed out that if all of your friends use GMail, Google has your email anyway. Any time I email somebody who uses GMail — and anytime they email me — Google has that email.