Google’s pledged to stop scanning users’ emails in Gmail for personalized ads. The important change, coming later this year, will bring personal Gmail accounts in line with Google’s business-focused G Suite Gmail service which does not scan emails for ads personalization.
“Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change,” Diane Green, Senior Vice President of Google Cloud, announced Friday in a post on the search giant’s official blog.
Ads you see across Google properties and on websites that use Google ads are still going to be personalized based on other factors, including users’ settings at myaccount.google.com.
“Users can change those settings at any time and disable ads personalization,” Green said.
Gmail is the world’s preeminent email provider with more than a whopping 1.2 billion users.
“G Suite customers and free consumer Gmail users can remain confident that Google will keep privacy and security paramount as we continue to innovate,” reads Green’s post.
Google’s ad-driven business model is notoriously reliant upon the company’s ability to personalize ads to your interests. The company uses many signals and various tracking techniques to collect anonymized data, which is then fed to its machine learning and artificial intelligence systems to derive useful intelligence for ads personalization.
On the flip side, Gmail scanning has been a common point of contention among privacy-minded users who dislike having their Gmail scanned for advertising purposes. Given that more than three million paying companies currently use the paid G Suite service, Google can certainly afford to stop scanning personal Gmail inboxes for ads personalization.
Apple’s iCloud Mail service has never scanned the contents of users’ inboxes because the entire iCloud suite of apps and services is 100 percent free of advertising, in line with Apple’s commitment to protecting the privacy of its users.