Google is pushing inline ads on Gmail
Some Gmail users are now seeing ads in the middle of their inboxes on the Gmail website. Google has a long track record of displaying advertisement on Gmail. It is not uncommon for free services to finance themselves through ads.
Up until now, Google displayed advertisement at the top of a user's inbox in the Promotions and Social categories on the site. Google introduced these custom categories, along with Forums and Updates, in 2013.
Now, some Gmail users are seeing inline ads as well when they use the web interface. The screenshot below shows the Promotions category and two inline ads displayed near the top, but below actual emails received by the account.
The advertisement is barely distinguishable from legitimate emails. Only the "Ad" icon, placed conveniently in the middle of the line, reveals that the message is an ad and not something sent to the user's account.
It is unclear if Google is rolling out the change to all Gmail users who use the web interface, or if this is part of a limited test.
9to5Google reports that Gmail mobile users are also seeing more ads i the official client. The Updates category may show advertisement as well to users.
How to avoid ads on Gmail
Gmail users who use the web interface have several options when it comes to avoiding advertisement.
Ads are currently limited to the categories promotions and social. To avoid those, you may start using the inbox exclusively.
Another option that worked here was to disable smart features and personalization. This is done in the following way:
- Open the Gmail website.
- Activate the cog-icon at the top and select See all settings.
- Under General, locate "Smart features and personalization".
- Uncheck "Turn on smart features and personalization" to turn off this feature. Note that several of Gmail's features, such as smart compose, autocorrect or spell checking, are tied to the feature. These won't work anymore once the feature has been disabled.
- Reload the Gmail interface.
Gmail users have other options at their disposal. They may switch to a desktop client, such as the open source Thunderbird email client or the built-in email client of the Vivaldi browser. This integrates Gmail in the application and gets rid of any advertisement that Google displays on the Gmail website.
A final option is to start using a content blocker. Extensions like uBlock Origin may also block ads on the Gmail website.
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