Google Will Stop Reading Your Email to Target AdsJune 23, 2017 – 6:16 PM
One of Google’s most controversial practices over the years has been the automated scanning of email contents. Google used that data to target ads inside Gmail, which it places at the top of the list in your social and promotions tabs. Google now says it will end the practice of targeting ads based on email text, but the decision was not made by the Gmail or advertising teams. It comes from Google’s cloud unit, which is responsible for selling G Suite business subscriptions.
G Suite, or Apps for Work as it used to be known, costs $5 or $10 per month for each user, but larger customers can contact Google for enterprise pricing. G Suite includes additional storage beyond the free 15GB that everyone gets, more security tools, and support for the usual list of Google cloud services like Gmail and Drive.
It’s interesting that Google Cloud was able to affect a change in the way Gmail ads are handled. Diane Greene, Google’s SVP of cloud, says this change was made to offer a more consistent experience across paid and free versions of Gmail. G Suite has doubled its paying users in the last year, so Google seems happy to let Greene make some big calls.
While the free version of Gmail has done automated email scanning for advertising purpose since its inception, that has never been the case in G Suite. If you pay Google for Gmail and other tools, you don’t get those ads in the first place. This change is supposed to put everyone’s mind at ease, even business customers that aren’t affected.