Google to stop scanning Gmail for ad targeting

24 June, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Alicia Barber
  • Google will stop scanning your Gmail messages to sell targeted ads

For nearly as long as Gmail has existed, Google has scanned your mails to gather information about you and display you relevant ads.

Well, today Google has announced that this email scanning will be retired from the free consumer Gmail service "later this year".

The new Gmail data scanning policies just bring the consumer version of Gmail more in line with the rest of Google's products and services.

Google's practice of scanning Gmail messages has always been controversial, with the company defending multiple lawsuits and even facing wiretapping charges in the US.

Google says it's changing course so its free Gmail service operates more like the subscription version that it has sold to more than 3 million companies.

But Google has finally made a decision to end the practice of scanning emails for advertising, according to a blog post published Friday by Google Cloud senior vice president Diane Greene. "Ads shown are based on users' settings". You can also opt to disable personalized ads altogether.

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But this doesn't mean you won't see targeted ads in Gmail. Gmail is the world's preeminent email provider with more than 1.2 billion users.

In 2014, Google was accused of violating state and federal wiretap laws for scanning the Gmail inboxes of American students, which use its Apps for Education suite, to deliver targeted advertisements.

Deciding to make Gmail a little more private could help Google convince people to stick with its service instead of turning to others.

So while this is a change which affects consumer Gmail accounts, it does also seem as though it is one created to further reassure G Suite Gmail customers that whichever Gmail services they use (G Suite or consumer), the same experience, and security, can be expected.

The Mountain View, California, company said it would stop the ad-driven scanning of Gmail later this year. Gmail add-ons will enable features like payments and invoicing directly within Gmail, further revolutionizing what can be accomplished in email.

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