* Google updated its terms of service back in 2014 to scan emails
* Ads were then served based on the context of your messages
* The new transition will help keep your emails more private
Great news, Gmail users: Google will finally stop reading your email. For years, Google’s controversial ad-scanning process would scan people’s emails and then target ads based on the context of the message. The company will make the transition later this year to align Gmail’s privacy practices with the rest of the G Suite.
The controversial practice allowed Google to “personalize” ads based on the types of messages you were sending and receiving. Now, it appears that this type of targeting is not only seen as invasive but also not very profitable. In fact, with all the other ways Google has to analyze and serve up ads, reading a person’s email is probably moot.
According to Google Cloud’s Senior Vice President Diane Greene: “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.”
For the time being, ads will still appear in free versions of Gmail, though they’ll be referred to as promoted messages and won’t be targeted by reading what’s in your mail. Instead, the ads will use Google’s massive backlog of personal information from sources like your YouTube playlists and past Google searches.
If you’re worried about the amount of information Google has on you, there are other options. DuckDuckGo is an alternative search engine that offers similar search results but doesn’t keep logs.