Google to stop reading your Gmail to help sell ads

Gmail ad targeting

Paying Gmail users never received the email-scanning ads like the free version of the program, but some business customers were confused by the distinction and its privacy implications, said Diane Greene, Google's senior vice president of cloud.

Google is looking to bring its consumer-based Gmail service in line with its G Suite for businesses, the latter of which includes a version of Gmail that does not get scanned in order to personalize ads. Google's primary offering is that of the Google Search and it's primary source of income is advertising.

Gmail has more than 1.2 billion users worldwide.

"Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change", wrote Greene in the blog post.

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.

'The value of Gmail is tremendous, both for G Suite users and for users of our free consumer Gmail service. You can also opt to disable personalized ads altogether. Google does in fact sift through the contents of your Gmail, though starting soon, it will stop doing that. The search engine chose to stop scanning the inboxes of Gmail free users for targeted advertisements later this year. Google argued in court in 2013 that its users should have a reasonable expectation that their emails are subject to "automatic processing", but the judge disagreed, finding that scanning is not considered an "instrumental part of the transmission of email".

Danny Sullivan, founding editor of the online blog Search Engine Land, called the move a "big change" for Gmail, noting that the scanning of email contents "has been the biggest hit against the services since it began". Google previously offered you two options: pay for its services or let it scan your emails. 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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