Google has today announced that it will soon stop the practice of using Gmail for information which can be used to target individuals with personalized ads. Google has not specifically stated when this change will occur, and instead has simply noted that the change will take place “later this year.” It is important to note that the blog post specifically highlights that this only applies to personal (consumer) Gmail accounts and not the Gmail accounts which can be used by businesses as part of Google’s G Suite.
The reason this is an important distinction is that Gmail through G Suite already does not use any scanning practises for personalized ads. A decision that Google likely made to reaffirm to businesses that Gmail is a safe, secure, and privacy-driven option for email. In fact, it seems the reassurance of G Suite customers who use Gmail is one of the driving forces behind the change that is coming to consumer Gmail customers. As google specifically notes that this change is to “more closely align” consumer Gmail with G Suite’s version of Gmail.
So while this is a change which affects consumer Gmail accounts, it does also seem as though it is one designed to further reassure G Suite Gmail customers that whichever Gmail services they use (G Suite or consumer), the same experience, and security, can be expected. Likewise, removing any issues or preconceptions some might have about the nature of Gmail and ads. For instance, assuming that as consumer Gmail is used for ads, then maybe the G Suite version is as well. By clearing up any such assumptions, it could lead to more customers opting to use G Suite in the future. As the current announcement does make it clear that G Suite is already “gaining enormous traction” and that “there are more than 3 million paying companies” now using Google’s businesses-focused suite. In either case, it is likely to be a change that is welcomed by consumer Gmail users, regardless of whether they also use G Suite Gmail as well. Which by comparison, is a significantly larger number of people, as Google notes that Gmail now accounts for over 1.2 billion users in total. All of which by the end of the year will no longer see emails used for ad personalization