An announcement from Google to stop scanning the inboxes of Gmail’s free users for ad personalization is a surprising one,  at some point later this year.

Google does not do this for business users who have subscribed to its G Suite services, but until now, it has scanned the inboxes of its free users routinely to better target ads for them. Google then combined that information with everything else it knows about users if Google,  to build for them its advertising profiles.

Google’s senior VP for Google Cloud, Diane Greene, says the company decided it because it “brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products.”

Google would not skip showing ads in Gmail, though, and it is worth ten note that given how much the company already knows about its all users, it just might not require these additional signals that came from Gmail. And maybe they even turned out to be relatively useless and detrimental to ad performance.

As much as I would like to believe that Google is doing this because of the goodness of its heart, chances are the only reason Google would make any change to its advertising products is because it has such data that shows it does not require this additional information about its users. So far, the inbox scanning does not seem to have hampered Gmail’s augment;  now it has 1.2 billion users.

Of course, that is not what Greene says in announcement been made today. According to the official line, the thought here is to more closely align G Suite’s Gmail and consumer Gmail.

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