Google announced in a blog post on Friday (June 23) that it will no longer scan emails in personal Gmail accounts to pull out data for targeted ads. Previously, email-mining in Gmail was a requirement of using the free service.
Business email accounts provided through Google’s G Suite service were already exempt from being mined for advertising data, and now personal accounts will get the same treatment, according to the post.
“Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change,” wrote Google Cloud senior vice president Diane Greene. “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.”
Of course, if you’ve used Gmail for an extended period of time, Google already knows a lot about you. If you’ve remained logged in to your Google account while using its other services like search, it knows even more. And although Google will stop mining new data from your email, the blog post doesn’t say it will stop using the data it already has, or that Google’s other services will stop collecting data in the same way.
Asked when the Gmail change will take effect, and what the company will do with the email data it’s already collected, a Google spokesperson said the company doesn’t have any information to share beyond what Greene wrote in the blog post.