The change brings Gmail in line with the paid G Suite service that is geared towards corporate customers - Google said that it wanted to standardize its practices to appease its more than 3 million G Suite customers.
This doesn't mean ads are disappearing from Gmail altogether-free users will still see ads that are personalized based on data from Search and YouTube.
Privacy activists have long complained that the scanning of email contents amounts to unwarranted "eavesdropping" on users. That's right. Google is going to stop Scroogling us. "Ads shown are based on users' settings", Google said in its announcement.
Google Cloud senior vice president Diane Greene said in a blog that the free Gmail service would now follow the same practices as its corporate G Suite Gmail.
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'Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization'.
Gmail has more than 1.2 billion users worldwide.
This will likely make a lot of free Gmail users very happy.
Several years ago, Microsoft took a few stabs at exposing Google's behavior of scanning email to generate personalized ads, first with Gmail Man and then with the successful (and accurate) Scroogled ad campaign. New add-ons will enable features like payments and invoicing directly within Gmail. The company added an explanation of the scanning to its terms of service in 2014, but doing so did not satisfy a federal judge in San Francisco, who rejected a legal settlement in March that proposed to pay $2.2 million to lawyers, but nothing to consumers. However, Google will no longer scan your mails to sell targeted ads.
So while this is a change which affects consumer Gmail accounts, it does also seem as though it is one created to further reassure G Suite Gmail customers that whichever Gmail services they use (G Suite or consumer), the same experience, and security, can be expected.