According to a new blog post on Google's blog, Google will soon stop scanning emails on its Gmail email service for advertisement purposes.
Gmail scans user emails on Gmail for a variety of purposes. These include to make sure that they don't contain spam or malware, but also to use the information for advertising purposes.
Privacy advocates have criticized Google for the practice, and Microsoft never failed to mention the fact and even used it in the company's infamous Scroogled advertisement campaign.
Google uses the information that it gains from the scans, and information that it has about the user from other sources, to display targeted advertisement to the user.
Google states that in Gmail's Terms of Service:
Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.
Google's Diane Greene, SVP Google Cloud, announced the change in a new blog post on the official Google blog on June 23, 2017.
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. 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
The decision was not made by Google's ad division, but by the company's Cloud division. The rationale behind the decision is that Google's Cloud division believes that organizations may not use Google's services because of the privacy implications that go along with scanning emails for advertisement purposes.
Google's G Suite never displayed email scanning advertisement to users of the service, but Google believes that company decision makers may still have been confused by it.
The outcome is positive for users of the free Gmail service: Google plans to stop scanning Gmail emails for advertisement purposes.
This does not mean that the free Gmail won't show advertisement. The ad selection process however will use other available sources of information to display ads to users on Gmail, for instance from searches or from YouTube activity.
Google is playing catch-up to Amazon and Microsoft when it comes to Enterprise cloud services. Revenue of the company's cloud division is on the rise; G Suite has more than 3 million users as of June 2017, and usage has doubled in the past year among large business customers according to the announcement.
Now You: What's your take on the announcement?
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.