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Google to stop scanning emails to target ads

David Murphy

Google is to stop the practice of scanning Gmail users’ emails in order to deliver targeted advertising. The move was announced in a blog post written by Google Cloud SVP Diane Green. The move brings the consumer version of Gmail into line with Google’s G Suite offering for businesses. There are around 1.2bn Gmail users, compared to 3m for the paid G Suite service.

“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,” Green wrote. “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.”

Google’s practice of scanning emails to target has been a source of regular criticism for the company in the past.