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Google Stops Scanning Gmail Content for Ad Targeting

Google on Friday announced plans to stop scanning the content of consumer Gmail addresses for personalizing the ads it serves to users.

Google on Friday announced plans to stop scanning the content of consumer Gmail addresses for personalizing the ads it serves to users.

Previously, the Internet giant would scan each and every email message received in consumer Gmail addresses, which allowed it to better determine what relevant ads to serve to its users. The only email accounts excluded from this practice were the Google Apps for Education and G Suite accounts.

Now, Google has decided to bring all accounts on the same page, and Diane Greene SVP, Google Cloud, announced in a blog post on Friday that consumer accounts will be aligned with the G Suite ones.

“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. Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change,” Greene says.

As soon as the change will enter effect, ads displayed to users will be entirely based on their settings, in line with the manner in which the company personalizes ads for other Google products. Furthermore, users will be able to change their settings at all times, and can even disable ads personalization if they desire.

G Suite, which has seen great traction among enterprise users and has seen more than doubled usage among large business customers, will continue to be ad free. According to Google, over 3 million paying companies are using G Suite today.

Google’s free email service is very popular among consumers as well, and currently serves more than 1.2 billion users. To make Gmail even more appealing, Google also focused on improving user security and privacy.

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In May 2017, the Internet giant rolled out a series of business-focused improvements to Gmail, including early phishing detection capabilities and “click-time warnings” for malicious links. In January, Google announced that Gmail will stop allowing users to attach JavaScript (.js) files to emails.

Related: Gmail Delivers Spoofed Messages Without Warning, Researchers Find

Related: Gmail Drops Support for Chrome on Windows XP and Vista

Related: Phished Gmail Accounts Immediately Accessed by Hackers

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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