Google Will Stop Scanning Your Emails to Show Personalized Ads in Gmail

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Apr 12, 2001
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Google today announced that it will stop scanning the emails of its free Gmail users for the purpose of delivering personalized ads later this year.


If you've recently received a lot of emails about photography or cameras, for example, currently Google may show you a deal from a local camera store that it thinks might be interesting to you. On the other hand, if you've reported those emails as spam, then Google would take steps not to show those ads.

Google users may still see personalized ads while using Gmail and the company's other services, depending on their account settings, but the contents of a user's inbox will no longer factor into the ads that are shown.

Article Link: Google Will Stop Scanning Your Emails to Show Personalized Ads in Gmail
 
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Porco

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Mar 28, 2005
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Good, I think it was always in the emotionally 'creepy' category, even if rationally speaking it was entirely machine-automated and nothing to be (particularly) concerned about.
 
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Bob Zimmerman

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Aug 31, 2015
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Ok, what's the catch ?
There isn't one directly. They are trying to sell Gmail as an "enterprise solution" to companies which don't want to run their own email infrastructure. It's part of what they call "G Suite". Corporate customers' email has never been scanned, but there has been a lot of confusion from them. To remove the confusion, the G Suite team pressured the Gmail team to remove content scanning entirely.
 

BigMcGuire

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Jan 10, 2012
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There isn't one directly. They are trying to sell Gmail as an "enterprise solution" to companies which don't want to run their own email infrastructure. It's part of what they call "G Suite". Corporate customers' email has never been scanned, but there has been a lot of confusion from them. To remove the confusion, the G Suite team pressured the Gmail team to remove content scanning entirely.
Cool, still - you think an announcement like this will just cause a negative reaction anyway. I think it's cool but I know a lot of people who think Google is terrible on privacy (and yet they use Facebook every day.... (LOL)). As a heavy Google user - I'm surprised because they had to make a lot of $ off of that. I guess not enough?

I know a lot of companies switching to and currently using Google Apps (G Suite) - the company I work for uses it. Beats a terrible exchange server that you can only access on a company intranet.
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The only service I’m using from Google is YouTube. Lost trust in everything else.
Really. I assume you also don't use Facebook, Twitter, or any other company that provides ads that track what you do? I assume you don't shop at Wal-Mart or Target? ......... Funny because a lot of Government (State) sites use Google including colleges - lots and lots of companies use it. I guess all their trust is misplaced. <shakes head>
 
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Bart Kela

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Oct 12, 2016
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Ok, what's the catch ?
There's no catch.

However, ads in Gmail aren't going away. They are simply switching the way they target ads. Rather than scan the content of your e-mails to provide relevant ads in your Gmail, they will use your Google search history, YouTube history, and your behavior from other Google properties and services. This is the way they serve ads in Gmail to business customers (like G Suite).

This Bloomberg article does a better job explaining it than MacRumors.

Of course, if you don't want to see ads at all in Gmail, don't use the webmail interface. Access your Gmail account with a standalone mail client like macOS Mail.app or iOS's built-in Mail app.

Webmail is a security risk anyhow. Best not to use webmail interfaces period, not just Google's.
 
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78Bandit

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Jun 13, 2009
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I don't see anything benevolent in this decision. The contents of your received emails are irrelevant to most of your purchase decisions anyway since a majority of email is spam. It is, however, quite creepy to get an email that references a product and be immediately faced with an ad for that product. Google has probably seen an uptick in people setting up their Google accounts to forward to Outlook or Yahoo as people start using a rival service.

Google wants you to remain signed into their system so they can see what you are doing on FaceBook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. which is far more valuable than the dab of information they could glean from your email. This was purely a business decision.
 
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tech4all

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Jun 13, 2004
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Google is garbage look at Nexus Pixel the next update will be in Oktober 2018!
First off, it's the Google Pixel. Nexus is the brand of their previous phones before the Pixel.

Second, you spelled October wrong.

If you're going to criticize, do it properly.
 

Bob Zimmerman

macrumors member
Aug 31, 2015
64
86
Cool, still - you think an announcement like this will just cause a negative reaction anyway. I think it's cool but I know a lot of people who think Google is terrible on privacy (and yet they use Facebook every day.... (LOL)). As a heavy Google user - I'm surprised because they had to make a lot of $ off of that. I guess not enough?

I know a lot of companies switching to and currently using Google Apps (G Suite) - the company I work for uses it. Beats a terrible exchange server that you can only access on a company intranet.
My company also moved to G Suite. It's garbage. Literally the single worst email system I have ever used. pine on a command line for mail locally on a UNIX box is better than this. The one thing Google is supposed to be really great at, search, is utterly worthless. I can search for an exact phrase, with quotes and everything, and get a hundred results, none of which contain the phrase. Meanwhile, the two emails I know I have which contain the phrase don't show up anywhere in the results. Even the worst self-hosted email system I ever saw allowed me to download mail and search it locally with competent tools.

It's also eye-wateringly expensive. I have no idea how upper management thinks this is going to save us money. It will cost more than building a whole new Microsoft Exchange environment every single year. I'm sure the profits from even one additional G Suite contract vastly outweigh the drop in profits expected from no longer reading personal email messages. It isn't like they're no longer advertising in Gmail, after all.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
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My company also moved to G Suite. It's garbage. Literally the single worst email system I have ever used. pine on a command line for mail locally on a UNIX box is better than this. The one thing Google is supposed to be really great at, search, is utterly worthless.
What a completely opposite experience that I've had. I've got over 90,000 emails in my Google email and handle many hundreds per week. Actually having access to the US Army's Exchange email system gives me a good idea of what email used to be like and is like for older companies - and that's the definition of "utterly worthless" to the T.

Expensive? $5/user/mo is expensive?! Do you even know how expensive an exchange server is (and to pay the people to set it up and maintain it?).

It wasn't until recently that we were allowed 5+mb attachments on our email exchange server. lol. It can take 40 minutes to send and receive emails - anything with an attachment may or may not send... lol.

http://www.zdnet.com/article/how-much-does-exchange-really-cost/ wow that's an old article (2008).

I'm genuinely curious (non-sarcastic) -- what email do you recommend for corporate users?
 

macduke

macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
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Many years ago I had my Gmail hacked because I stupidly used the same password on a few websites (not all) and this Ubuntu forum I used to frequent before becoming a Mac user was hacked and they used that to access my Gmail. This was before two-step and stuff like that. And apparently my backup email, which was Yahoo back then, had shut down my email because I hadn't used it for so long. I couldn't find anyone at Google or anywhere on their site that could help me.

It was around that time that I was getting into Macs and iPhones and I had the realization that if you're not paying for it in some way, you're the product being sold. I think this was also around the time Google started doing creepy stuff like this and becoming more invasive with tracking, throwing their "don't be evil" motto to the wind, as well as blatantly copying the iPhone functionality in their new Android OS. I started removing myself from everything Google, such as Docs and Calendar that I used all the time, and moved everything over to Mobile Me when that came out. It was a bit of a cluster, but I liked paying for it instead of selling my soul to the devil, and it has gotten a lot better over the years. I just can't trust Google to not betray my trust or to have my back if something goes wrong.

That realization led to me eventually shutting down things like FaceBook, as I realized that I was just giving them all of this information for free so they could make money off of me while massively wasting my time. I wish there were a paid social network that doesn't have all that crap, but the nature of people and getting them to part with their cash means that you'd never get the network big enough to be worthwhile. They tried that with app.net a few years ago and it failed.
 

smilyfox

macrumors newbie
Aug 25, 2015
25
6
I disagree. The Pixel was surprisingly a really nice phone with a solid build. I think Google did a nice job with the Pixel and it offered some nice features.

On a support page, people could see how Google offered a clear timeline for the software support dedicated to Pixel and Pixel XL. According to the company, both devices will receive the version update for the Android until October next year. This means that next year we will see Android coming to the Pixel phones.

https://tech.blorge.com/2017/05/28/pixel-pixel-xl-will-get-android-p-update-2018/157761/amp/157761
 

69Mustang

macrumors 604
Jan 7, 2014
7,336
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In between a rock and a hard place
I don't see anything benevolent in this decision. The contents of your received emails are irrelevant to most of your purchase decisions anyway since a majority of email is spam. It is, however, quite creepy to get an email that references a product and be immediately faced with an ad for that product. Google has probably seen an uptick in people setting up their Google accounts to forward to Outlook or Yahoo as people start using a rival service.

Google wants you to remain signed into their system so they can see what you are doing on FaceBook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. which is far more valuable than the dab of information they could glean from your email. This was purely a business decision.
I don't think anyone else sees this as benevolent either. We all realize it's a business decision, as Google is a business. There's no loss of revenue. They still serve ads, just ads as you say, based on the rest of your profile. There is a definite gain in perception since they are chasing that alternate revenue with G Suite.

Rarely does any company do anything benevolently. There is always business calculus involved.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
5,454
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California
It was around that time that I was getting into Macs and iPhones and I had the realization that if you're not paying for it in some way, you're the product being sold. ... I started removing myself from everything Google, such as Docs and Calendar that I used all the time, and moved everything over to Mobile Me when that came out. It was a bit of a cluster, but I liked paying for it instead of selling my soul to the devil, and it has gotten a lot better over the years. I just can't trust Google to not betray my trust or to have my back if something goes wrong.
Great post! (I shortened it to reply to parts) -- I agree 100%. I am one such user who relies on Google way too much. This year I took a 100% no Google challenge for 3 months and tried other services only (Spideroak, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc...). Found out how really dependent I am on Google. The ability to have 12 people modify one document at a time, sharing calendars, sharing files via Google Drive, unlimited photo backup, .... completely reliant and I see that as a problem. Sure, all my data is backed up locally, in other services, etc... but if Google ever does decide to go evil (which many may already believe is now) - yeah, that'll suck.
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Rarely does any company do anything benevolently. There is always business calculus involved.
Yep, agreed - as a poster above gave the link to a better article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...e-will-stop-reading-your-emails-for-gmail-ads

I'm sure they get a lot more $$$ from corporations using Google Apps. I'm actually helping several small businesses implement Google Apps for small side jobs. I can definitely see how they get some big bucks from this.
 
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