But it doesn’t mean Gmail will be ad-free
Google has decided to stop scanning emails for the purpose of targeted advertising, a practice Google implemented years ago.
The decision “brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products,” Google executive Diane Greene said
Google’s longstanding email scanning has been controversial, to say the least. The tech company has been sued multiple times over the practice. In one court filing on the matter, Google stated: “Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient’s ECS [electronic communications service] provider in the course of delivery.”
It could also be argued, however, most assistants would not compile and sell the contents of the letter.
Although some might allege an alternate motive to Google’s decision, such as enterprise competition, the change marks a victory for privacy-conscious Gmail users.
Removing email scanning does not mean the free version of Gmail will be ad-free, though. Google will continue to place targeted advertisements on Gmail, but the advertisements will be targeted in the same way as other Google services – based on browsing activity, Google searches, physical locations, and more.