Gmail messages will no longer be scanned for keywords to enable Google to provide personalized ads.
(CCM) — Google is to abandon the practice of scanning its 1.2 billion Gmail users' email messages in order to display advertisements which are personalized based on the messages' content, the company has announced in a blog post. Google's business email service does not carry ads personalized in this way, and the company intends to bring the two services into line by the end of the year.
When Google first announced that it would scan message content for advertising purposes, it faced criticism from privacy organisations. In subsequent years the practice was also attacked by Microsoft, who said that Gmail users were being "Scroogled." But Microsoft's Cortana can also scan emails in Outlook.com and Office 365 to provide users with reminders for events based on the content of emails.
Those unwilling to wait can turn off personalized ads in Gmail by opting out on the Google Ads Settings page in their account settings. However, it is important to note that Google will still scan the content of email messages for other purposes, such as to provide spam and anti-malware protection, to sort and display search queries, and to provide AI-powered "smart replies."
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