Google is pulling the plug on its long-standing practice of scanning the contents of individual Gmail accounts to deliver targeted ads within emails after admitting that the scheme was affecting trust among corporate clients over how the firm handles sensitive data.
Gmail will still see “personalised” ads and marketing messages at the top of their inboxes but these would be based on other data, which may include search queries or browsing habits.
In 2015, it launched a scheme to allow brands to match their customer data to people logged into its services – such as YouTube, Gmail and even search – and then target them with ads in realtime.
The edict has come from its cloud computing division, and was revealed in a blog post by Diane Greene, the senior vice president of Google Cloud, who joined the company 18 months ago with a brief to challenge the dominance of Microsoft and Amazon in the cloud market.
She said the decision has been sparked by general confusion over Google’s business tactics, which have made it more difficult for the tech giant to find and retain corporate clients for its cloud business.
Deene wrote: “G Suite’s Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalisation, and Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer Gmail service. Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalisation after this change. This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalise ads for other Google products.”
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