- Google plans to cease scanning Gmail content to target ads across the service, Bloomberg reported. The initiative comes from Google's cloud unit, not its ad team, per Bloomberg, as the company tries to allay concerns of more privacy-minded enterprise customers of its G Suite software package.
- Paying Gmail users already don't receive email-scanning ads but might've been confused in differentiating from the free version, Bloomberg said. Google will still serve ads in the free version of Gmail as promoted messages, but they will be targeted based on search history and YouTube views instead of email content.
- The shift can be chalked up to the growing influence of Diane Greene, Google's senior vice president of cloud, who is attempting to edge the company up against enterprise software leaders like Microsoft and Amazon, according to Bloomberg. G Suite currently has 3 million customers and has grown its user base 2x in the past year, Greene wrote in a blog post.
The ad policy shift points to Google's changing priorities as services including its cloud business continue to see traction. Ad revenues earned via channels like email and search have helped build Google into the tech titan it is today, but the Alphabet-owned company might be eyeing different avenues as it seeks continued growth, with the enterprise space providing opportunity despite being highly competitive.
Google is also clearly meeting a demand for increased transparency and privacy, which businesses are starting to take more seriously. Being more accommodating to those demands might edge Google up closer to Amazon and especially Microsoft, a veteran player in the enterprise software space.
A report in TechCrunch also suggests that Google might simply already have more than enough data on its 1.2 billion Gmail users.