Google says that it will no longer scan the contents of mails on its free Gmail service for the use of personalized adverts.
The company made this announcement in a blog post on Friday, saying the policy change would be effected later on in 2017.
In the past, privacy advocates have criticized Google’s practice of using email data to bring personalized adverts to users.
This added feature has been existing on Google’s G Suite Gmail service for businesses, which does not scan email data for personalized 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. 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.
“Ads shown are based on users’ settings. Users can change those settings at any time, including disabling ads personalization. G Suite will continue to be ad free.”
Instead of scanning email contents, Google will now use information from other sources like the kind of YouTube videos watched or the searches made using its search engine.
The company had previously given users the option to opt out of targeted ads on its advertising settings page.
Google confirmed that it will continue to analyze emails for reasons other than ad targeting.
Its terms of service says it analyzes content for custom search results and spam and malware detection.
In the blog post, Google mentioned its anti-spam, anti-phishing, and Smart Reply features for Gmail, all of which require the company to analyze email content.
On Thursday, Google announced that it would remove private information like medical records, account numbers and images of signatures from its search results.
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