Google is stopping one of the most controversial advertising formats: ads inside Gmail that scan users’ email contents. The decision didn’t come from Google’s ad team, but from its cloud unit, which is angling to sign up more corporate customers.
To better serve enterprise users, Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cloud software suite saw a bevy of business customers that were concerned by privacy issues.
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.
G Suite has more than 3 million paying companies and had more than doubled its user base among large businesses in the past year. It's largest rival is, of course, Microsoft.