Saturday, June 24, 2017

Yeah, But Will They Really?

Google to stop reading people’s Gmail to help sell ads

By ending all scanning of mail, Google hopes to increase trust and sell more Gmail subscription services. | AP

The Japan Times  AP
Google is going to stop reading people’s Gmail in search of opportunities to sell ads.

The change, announced Friday, will end a practice that Google has embraced since it 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 mail and then showing ads connected to some of the content. Someone writing about running, for instance, might see ads for shoes.

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 company said it would stop the ad-driven scanning of Gmail later this year.

Google says it is 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.

Despite that, Google said some of its business customers incorrectly assumed the company was scanning those accounts as well. By ending all scanning, Google hopes to end the confusion and sell Gmail 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.

2 comments:

Unknown said...

I just figure anything posted on the internet is in the public domain anyhow. I mean, "intellectual property" is an interesting idea, but how do you enforce that?

geonni banner said...

I was always told that an email was like a postcard - anybody who wants to read it, can. I used to hate the way Amazon's tracking doo-hickey used to make ads for things I had just looked at on their site appear on my screen when I was on another webpage. Then I got an ad blocker.