Google is well-known for leveraging its vast hordes of data on users' habits, preferences and search data in order to provide personalized advertisements through its AdWords and AdSense programs. One source of this data, which many privacy enthusiasts have often been concerned about, is your Gmail account, where Google would routinely scan emails in order to better identify your tastes. Indeed, Microsoft ran its semi-successful 'Scroogled' ad campaign entirely based on this.
Fortunately, that'll be coming to an end sometime this year. As Diane Greene, Senior Vice President of Google Cloud, explains in a new blog post, "Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change. This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products."
While business users subscribing to the company's G Suite were already exempt from this manner of data scraping for ad personalization, it's nice to see the company will extend the same courtesy to normal, free users of its email service.
Of course, Google still has a ton of data regarding its users from other sources and will likely also retain the data it has gathered from your email account in the past, but this move may rest some concerns about privacy as we move to the future.
In other news, Greene also revealed that the number of active Gmail users has increased by 200 million since the company reached a milestone of 1 billion users last year.