Ads will continue to appear inside the free version of Gmail, as promoted messages. But instead of scanning a user’s email, the ads will now be targeted with other personal information Google already pulls from sources such as search and YouTube. Ads based on scanned email messages drew lawsuits and some of the most strident criticism the company faced in its early years, but offered marketers a much more targeted way to reach consumers.
This is good for Google users, even if it was done to protect themselves from the lawsuits and criticism. I’m heartened that privacy is becoming a marketable feature. I think it’s in no small part due to Apple pushing a strength that makes it hard for Android to compete with.