Mike Timmermann, Clark.com
If you have a Gmail account, you’ll want to know about a change that some privacy experts say is long overdue.
In a recent blog post, Google said it will stop scanning the contents of emails in its free consumer Gmail service. The information gleaned from scanning those emails was used to personalize ads.
That’s already the way it is for business customers who pay for access to Gmail through G Suite.
Gmail will stop scanning emails to show targeted ads
“G Suite’s Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalization, and Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer Gmail service,” said Google Cloud senior vice president Diane Greene. “Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change.”
For users of free Gmail, ads will still be personalized based on other information Google gathers, like search history.
“This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products,” said Greene. “Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization.”
The big change is simply that email data won’t be used to serve up advertisements. There’s no stopping ads altogether, but Google does let you turn off personalized ads if you want to.
You can manage your ad settings through Google’s My Activity page.
Read more: How to see everything Google knows about you