Google will no longer scan emails of its Gmail users for advertising purposes, the company confirmed on Friday, June 23.
Google began performing the practice very early on, nearly since the launch of Gmail, in fact. It lets the company look through a person’s email content and show them advertisements based on what it finds.
Simply put, the practice amounts to Google’s form of targeted ads. Gmail users have the option to opt out, and the company only uses the tactic on personal Gmail accounts and not corporate accounts.
That said, the mere existence of this practice has made it hard for Google to search and retain corporate clients for its cloud business, according to Google cloud division head Diane Greene, in an interview with the Financial Times.
That difficulty possibly roots from companies not fully understanding Google’s business tactics, in addition to them not trusting Google enough to hand over sensitive data.
Ads based on scanned email contents drew lawsuits and some of the harshest criticism the company faced in its early years but offered marketers a chance to reach their customers more directly.
Google’s Cloud Business
Since Google welcomed Greene in November 2015, her chief goal has been to convince more companies and enterprises to turn to Google’s G Suite platform and not to those offered by competitors. But Greene’s job has been a steep climb, as both Amazon and Microsoft’s cloud services business lead the race, with Amazon offering hosting service and Microsoft offering corporate productivity tools and services.
The primary purpose behind the move, it appears so, is to hopefully gain more customers by convincing them that their personal and private data won’t be at risk.
All told, the move doesn’t mean Gmail users will stop seeing ads completely going forward. Of course, the company can still rely on search histories to determine what ads it can show a certain individual, in addition to relying on YouTube activity, Chrome browsing, and all other sorts of browsing one does as long as they’re logged in to their Google account.
But those who might have been quite alarmed about Google’s targeted ads practices should be at least less alarmed with this move.
In 2014, Google stopped scanning student Gmail accounts over privacy concerns.
How To Opt Out Of Google’s Targeted Ads Practice
Targeted ads can often be alarming for those who don’t know the underlying process behind it. But it’s possible to opt yourself out of seeing them.
Those who don’t want to see personalized ads may go to Google Ads Settings page and easily opt out. Just simply turn the slider “off.”
But those who want to keep it on may do so too, of course. Keep in mind, however, that when you tick the box that says you’re letting Google make use of your Google account activities, the company will be able to access your YouTube browsing habits, searches, and other browsing data to give you more relevant ads.