Google to stop scanning private emails for personalised Gmail ads

Posted June 27, 2017

Google's Greene goes on to talk up Gmail as "the world's preeminent email provider with more than 1.2 billion users", and that "no other email service protects its users from spam, hacking, and phishing as successfully as Gmail".

Diane Greene, Google's senior vice president of cloud, wrote the blog post announcing the big Gmail changes.

The move effectively brings the widely-used email service in line with its enterprise offering, G Suite.

"G$3 iven how much the company already knows about all of its users, it just might not need these additional signals from Gmail", posits Techcrunch. Google will continue to serve ads to its consumer Gmail users, but will instead use data sources such as Web searches and user feedback to tailor ads.

Google's Gmail is putting an end to the controversial practice of scanning consumer emails for targeted ad campaigns. "Ads shown are based on users' settings". Users can change those settings at any time or disable ad personalisation altogether.

The removal of scanning for personalised adverts won't mean the free version of Gmail will be without adverts, however.

This was an oft maligned feature of Gmail, a feature that conjured up questions of user privacy within Google's ecosystem.

In this page, you'll see the option to turn off or on the Ads Personalization feature for your Google account.

There have been several privacy activists who have complained regarding the scanning of email contents amounting to unwarranted eavesdropping on users.

The change comes as Google is trying to attract more enterprise customers to its G Suite product, which competes with Microsoft.

Anyone using the free, consumer version of Gmail will have noticed text ads based on the contents of your email. Last year, 88 percent of all revenue at Alphabet, Google's parent company, came from Google advertising, according to its annual report.