By year’s end, Google will stop scanning your Gmail folders in order to deliver targeted advertising.
According to their blog post, “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.” Google has maintained for years that users can change their privacy settings at any time and still use the service.
Google has come under fire for years for forcing users to give up privacy in exchange for the popular service. Microsoft has even created ad campaigns that directly attacked Google for their scanning tactics.
Many privacy groups are excited for the change of position by Google.
“Whilst it could be seen as closing the stable door once the horse has bolted, there is no doubt that the end to the intrusive and frankly creepy process will be appreciated by a great many Gmail users,” said Renate Samson with Big Brother Watch.
While this is a win for privacy, it’s important to note that Gmail messages will still be scanned by Google to provide AIP (Artificial Intelligence Powered) “smart replies” and malware protection.