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.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google Cloud sells a package of office software,
called G Suite, that competes with market leader Microsoft Corp.
Paying Gmail users never received the email-scanning ads like the
free version of the program, but some business customers were
confused by the distinction and its privacy implications, said
Diane Greene, Google’s senior vice president of cloud. “What we’re
going to do is make it unambiguous,” she said.
This is terrific news. Not just because it’s a good policy change in and of itself, but I take it as a sign that Google’s leadership is starting to realize how much damage they’ve done to the company’s reputation by playing fast and loose with their users’ privacy.