Google Says It Won't Snoop Your Inbox Anymore For Targeted GMail Ads

Have you ever noticed that if you mention a product in email, it has a way of translating over to ads? In some cases, it might be a coincidence. But if you use Gmail, there is a much higher chance that Google scanned the contents of your email, picked up on a keyword, and delivered a targeted ad based on what you wrote. Oh, you didn't know? Google does in fact sift through the contents of your Gmail, though starting soon, it will stop doing that.

Google is looking to bring its consumer-based Gmail service in line with its G Suite for businesses, the latter of which includes a version of Gmail that does not get scanned in order to personalize ads.

Image Source: Flickr (C.E. Kent)

"G Suite’s Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalization, and Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer Gmail service," Google stated in a blog post. "Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change. This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products."

This does not mean the end of ads in Gmail. Ads will continue to appear as promoted messages, only after the change in policy what you see will be based on information Google collects through other means and services, such as YouTube. It all depends on your Google account settings, which you can change whenever you want. You can also opt to disable personalized ads altogether. Again, doing so won't eliminate ads from your Gmail, it just means the ones you receive will be random and potentially less aligned with your interests.

Privacy advocates can view this as a win. It also means less confusion among Google's many G Suite and Gmail users—Google says there are more than 3 million paying companies that use G Suite, and more than 1.2 billion Gmail users as a whole. In a statement provided to Bloomberg, Google Cloud Senior Vice President Diane Greene noted that some business customers were confused by the distinction between the two.

"What we're going to do is make it unambiguous," Green said.

This move underscores what Green has been able to accomplish in her relatively short time as head of Google's Cloud efforts. She was brought on board in 2015 and since then has been able to draw customers from competing services. You can bet that this latest move was designed to convince even more businesses to hop on G Suite—even though the policy change is aimed at the consumer version of Gmail, it shows that Google is taking user privacy into consideration.

Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (robert llefii)