Google stops scanning email in bid to win corporate customers

Google will stop scanning its free, consumer version of Gmail for ad personalisation

Gmail and YouTube icons on a smartphone screen

Google will no longer scan Gmail accounts to deliver personalised ads - but it's not worried about your privacy so much as corporate customer confusion.  

Anyone using the free, consumer version of Gmail will have noticed text ads based on the contents of your email. Corporate customers paying for its G Suite email don't see such ads and their accounts aren't scanned.

However, senior VP of Google Cloud Diane Greene told Bloomberg that some businesses were confused by the distinction between the services and voiced privacy concerns. "What we're going to do is make it unambiguous," said V Greene.

To avoid ambiguity, Google will stop scanning consumer Gmail accounts. "G Suite's Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalisation, 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 personalisation after this change," added Greene in a blog post.

Ads will continue to appear in the free version of Gmail, but will be based on users' settings rather than the content of their email. Users can change those settings at any time or disable ad personalisation altogether. G Suite will remain ad free.

Greene added that the G Suite usage among corporate customers has more than doubled in the past year with over three million companies paying for Google's G Suite services. Google's cloud computing group, headed by Greene, is angling to acquire more corporate customers in an attempt to catch up with Microsoft Office's package, which currently hosts 80 % of the Fortune 500.

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