Google will stop scanning Gmail emails to target users with advertising
Google just announced that they are going to stop contextually targeting consumers based on the content of their emails within Gmail. Users of G Suite have already experienced this change and all other consumer accounts are now set to follow suit.
This of course is nicely in line with the privacy tide of our times but presumably there are other reasons driving the decision from the financial side. In particular the success of retargeting has probably made basing ads on consumer behavior (particularly which sites they visited) a more lucrative proposition than trying to figure out their interests based on what their emails contain, which can be a very hard nut to crack in many cases.
Here’s the official announcement on the Google blog:
“G Suite’s Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalization, and Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer Gmail service. Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change. This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products. Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization. G Suite will continue to be ad free.”