Recently updated GMail brings with it ads disguised as Emails

It's well known that Google generates specific and targeted ads in the Gmail service based on looking at the emails of its users. It's a practice that's not well liked by some people and even Microsoft has slammed Google in the past for how it handles ads in Gmail.

The new ad layout in the Promotions tab looks a lot like an email now.

Now it looks like Google is actually sending ads that look like emails directly into the inboxes of at least some Gmail subscribers. This new "feature" was noticed by some users last week. VentureBeat reports that the ad messages are found in the "Promotions" tab, which is typically filled with newsletters, ads and press releases.

In a statement to VentureBeat, Google tried to explain the nature of these new "messages":

Instead of ads always appearing at the top of your inbox, they’ve been relegated to a more appropriate place in your Promotions category. In addition, we’ve raised the quality of these ads and won’t show you an ad unless it’s relevant — which means you may sometimes see no ads at all in your Promotions tab. You can also dismiss the ads you see in your Promotions tab by clicking the “X” button on the right-hand side.

The ads only appear with the recently updated Gmail interface, which separates emails as "Primary," "Social" or "Promotions" by default. If you opted to stick with the old tabless UI, then they won't appear. However, the fact is that some people actually like to go through the "Promotions" tab to find deals based on newsletters they signed up for. That Google is now putting their own ads disguised as emails could be considered by some, and rightfully so, as spam right in their Promotions box.

In any case, the change isn't going unnoticed as the Tweet above points out.

Source: VentureBeat | Image via Geek.com

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70 Comments

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funny never saw those, then again i use adblock all the time (Neowin is whitelisted ) so maybe that's the reason i never saw those.
come to think of it, i never saw ads in gmail, actually 8|

so wait...it shows up under "PROMOTIONS" which you should automatically assume will contain junk...and yet you're complaining about an ad disguised as an email? Nothing to see here kids. Just stop clicking "Promotions" Next you'll tell me that you're getting spam in your spam folder.....

Uh, some people sign up for deals on websites or get newsletters from companies and that would get categorized under Promotions. Last I checked, it's called "Promotions" not "Spam/Junk", you know like practically what every other e-mail provider calls it. So not going to Promotions isn't the correct solution in this case *rolls eyes*

I know enough to not click on these ads by the way, but you're solution isn't a solution.

never liked gmail and never will. Have always been with hotmail. I wish it was possible to link your android to hotmail account

Man there is so much fail in most of these comments.

#1 These are disguised as email not actual email
#2 They will appear in your inbox as well if you have the tabs disabled.
#3 The frequency from my experience has been 1 or 2 a month.
#4 Yes Adblock works

These ads are not new. They are the same ads you have always seen.
The position has changed, and they are still clearly marked "Ad".
Granted the new position is slightly dubious, but gmail is a free service.

I expect most people have already disabled tabs and gone back to the original interface. I have tabs in my browser, I don't want or need tabs in my webpage too.

So the statement "I switched from Hotmail because I received a lot of spam" is no longer valid
I like how they try to sell this by branding them as "high quality ads"
lalala

Anyone concerned about privacy and who doesn't want to be hassled by ads isn't using gmail, for the people that do, I am certain this spam by the dataminer isn't going to put it over the top, after all anyone already knows how Google earns money right ?

One of the reasons why I stopped using any Google services. They update their interfaces too much. Just keeps getting worst. Glad I've switched to Outlook.

Why? Because Google changes how ads are displayed and then give a way to opt out so you don't see them? Yea, I feel real scroogled here.

techbeck said,
Why? Because Google changes how ads are displayed and then give a way to opt out so you don't see them? Yea, I feel real scroogled here.

Most people aren't capable of understanding that.

To be fair, I believe it's mandatory to note that something is an ad when it's an ad... so they don't get confused. Just like web banner ads these days say 'Advertisement' on it as well. But yeah, this is funny... glad I don't (and never will) use Gmail anymore.

j2006 said,
To be fair, I believe it's mandatory to note that something is an ad when it's an ad... so they don't get confused. Just like web banner ads these days say 'Advertisement' on it as well. But yeah, this is funny... glad I don't (and never will) use Gmail anymore.

This is how stupid people are. Gmail is a very good email client with many features. So Google adds one minor feature and BOOM the product is useless. Scroogled! (I've never seen that attack word used anywhere except by the morons here.)

Disabled the tabs, found them annoying.. if an ad is being sent as an email, it's spam.. I would move away from Gmail if i was forced to have spam in my inbox.

oh noes, I am getting an sponsored email from the best (and free) email service!!!! the sky is falling!!!!!!!! run for your lives!, truly 1st world problems.

NastySasquatch said,
Except second and third worlders can get Gmail too. So this isn't just a 1st world problem.

Dont think that is what he meant. Meant that this isnt the number one problem to worry about in the world. At least thats how i took it.

techbeck said,

Dont think that is what he meant. Meant that this isnt the number one problem to worry about in the world. At least thats how i took it.

I do realize what he meant, I even agree with the sentiment, I just felt it was important to note his statement was sadly patently false.

Draconian Guppy said,
This will only disable personalized ads based on browsing, you will still get ads, just random enlarge your penis

haha, but that is spam really.

NastySasquatch only.
I hadn't noticed this, if you mean the little banner thingy at the bottom of some free apps, ok.
But they never bothered me, unless they got in the way of a button I needed to press (those I uninstall immediately as they truly are annoying)

NastySasquatch said,
I thought it already did this? Oh wait... maybe those are just the bundled apps I can NEVER uninstall.

You can completely disable them, though. Not sure what other OS you can say that for, especially in the mobile scene.

Kushan said,

You can completely disable them, though. Not sure what other OS you can say that for, especially in the mobile scene.

Really? Because there are plenty of Apps I cant take off my LG Phone or my Acer a100 Tab......

You can remove every installed app in Windows Phone, including carrier crapware. Toy OS's disable, real OS's uninstall!

You can do the same in iOS basically as well.


Also to be able to uninstall apps from a Windows Phone, it would need to have actual useful apps........................................... (sorry had to)

zeroomegazx said,
You can do the same in iOS basically as well.

Also to be able to uninstall apps from a Windows Phone, it would need to have actual useful apps........................................... (sorry had to)

Uninstall Stocks and Newsstand and get back to me.

xbbdc said,

Uninstall Stocks and Newsstand and get back to me.

I use neither nor do i think either would be any more useful than iOS or Android norms

Its probably for the best. If you end up liking it, like I do, it really sucks when you don't have those tabs in 3rd party IMAP apps. But I do receive a LOT LESS notifications on my phone since enabling it. For the most part I'm pleased with what it notifies me on and what it tucks away in a tab.

I fire up Mail in Mac OS X and it says I have something like 40 unread messages. Wish there were a way to get the same tab support in Mail. Don't know why they can't just map the tabs to IMAP folders similar to how they handle labels.

Unless all those promo emails are actually wanted, why not be more aggressive at reporting as spam or unsubscribing? That's what I did and as a result I get a lot less unwanted emails.

If you use IMAP will you be seeing this on your regular email client too or just in the web interface?