Google to stop reading your emails to help sell ads
CBS/AP June 23, 2017, 4:37 PM
Google is going to stop reading your Gmail in search of opportunities to sell
The change announced Friday will end a practice that Google has embraced since
the company introduced Gmail in 2004. The practice has raised concerns among
privacy watchdogs and creeped out some users.
To help finance the free service, Google has been scanning through what Gmail
users were discussing and then showing ads connected to some of the topics.
Someone writing about running, for instance, might see ads for Nike or Asics
Google still plans to show ads within Gmail. But instead of scanning through
email content, the company's software will rely on other signals to determine
which ads are most likely to appeal to each of its 1.2 billion Gmail users.
The Mountain View, California, company said it would stop the ad-driven
scanning of Gmail later this year.
Google says it's changing course so its free Gmail service operates more like
the subscription version that it has sold to more than 3 million companies. The
paid Gmail doesn't include ads, so the company has never tried to scan the
content of those users' emails for marketing purposes.
Yet some business customers might have believed incorrectly that Google was
scanning those accounts as well. By ending all scanning, Google can put such
concerns to rest as it tries to sell the service to even more businesses.
Gmail now ranks as the world's largest email service, an indication that most
people didn't care about Google's scanning methods. Both Microsoft and Apple
have publicly skewered Google for having the audacity to mine users' emails for
ad sales, but those attacks didn't undercut Gmail's popularity.