Google halts Gmail scanning for targeted ads

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Google will stop scanning personal Gmail accounts in order to deliver targeted advertising from later this year. Google used to scan the emails of only those who used the free version of Gmail, not the paid-for service sold to companies, said Diane Greene, head of the company's cloud business. Users will be able to change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalisation.

Alongside the announcement, Greene outlined the importance of the G Suite. But Microsoft's Cortana can also scan emails in and Office 365 to provide users with reminders for events based on the content of emails.

The ads you see in Gmail are targeted to you. Google Cloud therefore decided to make the two more aligned as they look towards their bright future indicated by their growth.

Though Alphabet, Google's parent company, has expanded into businesses including mobile phones, home assistants, and autonomous vehicles, it still made 88 percent of its revenue from advertising in 2016. Click on that, and you'll have to go a tab called 'Manage Ad settings'.

However, Google has now said the email scanning will be dropped from personal accounts to "more closely align" its business and consumer products.

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The company also claimed that over 1.2 billion people now use the G Suite Gmail service and the free consumer Gmail service, and that more than 3 million paying companies use G Suite.

For users of free Gmail, ads will still be personalized based on other information Google gathers, like search history.

Google's blogpost explains that Gmail in G Suite is not used for ads personalization, and they will now do the same with regular, old Gmail as well. G Suite users are not subject to email scans, and now this is being applied to Gmail customers.

While enterprise users have never had to worry about the company scanning their emails, the distinction between the consumer and the enterprise service was apparently lost on some clients.