Google Will No Longer Scan Gmail Service for Targeted Advertising

Google said it plans to carry out the changes to the Gmail ad policy “later this year.” (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

Google plans to abandon its longstanding practice of scanning user email in its Gmail service to serve targeted advertising.

Google said it does not scan the email of paying corporate customers of its G Suite of services, but it made the policy change — announced in a company blog post on Friday — on its free consumer version to eliminate confusion and create one uniform policy toward Gmail.

As it builds its Google Cloud business for selling internet infrastructure and services to corporate customers, Google is trying to ease concerns that it will use data from corporate customers to help its mainstay advertising business.

Google said it plans to carry out the changes to the Gmail ad policy “later this year.” It will continue to scan Gmail to screen for potential spam or phishing attacks as well as offering suggestions for automated replies to email.

The company will continue to serve ads in Gmail, which has more than 1.2 billion users, but it will target those ads based on information it has already gathered from other Google services like search or YouTube, instead of the content of email.

“This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products,” Diane Greene, Google’s senior vice president in charge of Google Cloud, wrote in the post.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Daisuke Wakabayashi