Google Will Stop Scanning your emails to Target Ads

Tech giant, Google, is ending its long-standing and controversial practice of scanning individual Gmail messages for advertising purposes, the company has announced. The company has been doing the practice almost since it was launched with the purpose of tailoring advertisements within the email service. The decision is not from the company advertising team but from its cloud unit, which is aiming at signing up more corporate clients.

Although users are allowed to opt out, Google only reserves the practice for personal accounts but not for corporate users. However, the practice makes it strenuous for the company to get and keep corporate customers for its cloud services, Google’s cloud division head, Diane Greene said. This was because corporate users get confused over the company’s business approaches and whether to trust it with crucial and sensitive data.

“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.” Read a blog post by Greene.

Advertisements will still appear on the Gmail’s free version as promoted content, but instead of scanning Gmail messages, users will be targeted using personal information which Google gets from other sources such as YouTube and Search behavior.

Targeting of ads based on scanned email messages had continually drawn lawsuits against the company and also made the company face criticism although the approach offered marketers a better way of tailoring ads to consumers.

Greene, who was hired in November 2015, has shown her growing influence since she has influenced the company’s investments into business software and cloud computing. Google has faced an uphill battle with Amazon and Microsoft being the biggest competitors. Microsoft provides corporate productivity services while Amazon offers hosting services. Now, Google hopes that it can woo more corporate clients by proving that it can be entrusted with secure data, hence enhancing corporate privacy.

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In Kenya, Google is highly used, with services spread across email services, advertising, search, YouTube among others. Google has also partnered with various companies to set up projects in Kenya. The company has been known to have an interest in, back and fund projects such as Business Intern, Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, G-Student, and BebaPay. The latter is a service aimed at boosting the travel industry in Kenya which sees the use of cards to pay for matatu fares.


Gathoni Kuria

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