Google to stop scanning Gmail messages for targeted advertising

The spiritual home of targeted advertising, which once warned that users had no right to expect privacy, has confirmed that it will no longer use users email as a means to find ad content for your account. Google, on its blog, has explained that Gmail in G Suite is not used for ads personalisation, and they will now do the same with regular, old Gmail as well.

Greene's blog post touted future development of Gmail, which now has more than 1.2 billion users.

G Suite will still scan emails for other features.

Ads based on scanned email messages has drawn strong criticism and multiple lawsuits since its early years. Google Cloud therefore decided to make the two more aligned as they look towards their bright future indicated by their growth. These settings, including ad personalisation, can be customised, letting customers opt out of targeted data collection entirely.

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

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"Like the saying goes, if you're not paying for the product, you are the product". More than 3 million companies pay to use the G Suite today, according to Greene.

The company has been taking part in a practice where it reads your emails in order to determine what ads to push your way as Google makes a large chunk of its revenue - 88% - from ads. That leaves the door open for the company to continue to scan emails for other purposes, like sorting them by priority, or suggesting replies you might send.

The decision wasn't made by Google's advertising department, but comes as Google looks to sell more Google Cloud packages, known as "G Suite", to corporate clients.

The move is in line with Google's existing G Suite Gmail service for businesses, which doesn't scan email data for personalized ads.

In December, Google tentatively agreed to hold off on scanning incoming mail until after the messages were available in a Gmail user's inbox, which it argued would help resolve concerns about Google violating state wiretapping laws.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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