Google has announced that it will cease one of its more controversial advertising formats: scanning email content in order to provide personalised adverts. Ads will still appear on the free version of Gmail, by way of ‘promoted messages’ but these ads will now be targeted using information from other sources such as YouTube and search.
The G Suite package of software will continue to be ad-free but later in the year, Gmail will be updated to be in line with how other Google products’ ads are personalised.
“Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalisation after this change,” Google Cloud senior vice president Diane Greene said in a blog “This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalise ads for other Google products. Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalisation.”
This means that users can tweak the settings of how ads are displayed or even disable personalised ads altogether. Users can check what and how the ads are being tailored by Google using the “Ads settings” option from within Gmail.
This doesn’t mean Google will stop scanning emails altogether, as they will still analyse content for malware-detection, anti-spam and anti-phishing purposes. Still, this is a step in the right direction for those concerned about privacy issues and “eavesdropping” on the Gmail platform.