Google said it will stop scanning Gmail users’ content in order to sell targeted ads. This decision to halt one of the most controversial advertising formats primarily on privacy issues which dated back to as early as the year Gmail was founded in 2004, was announced last week by Diane Greene, Google’s senior vice president of cloud in a blog.
G Suite’s Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalisation, and Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer Gmail service.
She added that its consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalisation after this change. At present, Gmail has more than 1.2 billion users. To-date, G Suite has more than 3 million paying companies and had more than doubled its user base among large businesses in the past year, said Greene.
This decision, Green said, will bring Gmail ads in line with how it personalises ads for other Google products. “Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalisation. G Suite will continue to be ad free,” she said.
Users can control the information they share with Google at myaccount.google.com, Greene added.
Ads based on scanned email messages has drawn strong criticism and multiple lawsuits since its early years. With the new practice, users of free version of Gmail will still see ads appearing as promoted messages. But Google will sell these targeted ads to marketers and brands based on the data and personal information gathered from its other sources such as search and YouTube.