Google To Email You Ads
July 23, 2013

Google To Email You Ads

It shouldn’t be all that surprising, but Google could begin emailing advertisements directly to your inbox. Sure, we’re used to seeing Google ads in search, YouTube and elsewhere, but receiving them directly to a special folder feels just a little bit more violating.

Google is clearly no dummy. The company has turned something we would all inevitably use, web search, into a way to drum up data, serve this data to ad companies and earn themselves a tidy profit. Clearly the company knew if they started emailing ads straight to the inbox there could be a mini riot on their hands. To help ease people into existence, the company rolled out a new feature: Tabs.

These tabs separate your Gmail inbox into three categories: Primary, Social and Promotions.

We’ll get to Primary and Social in a moment.

When you first sign into your Gmail account, you’ll get an alert about these new tabs with Google ever so politely explaining that all those advertising emails you’re already getting from companies which newsletters you’ve subscribed to will be funneled into this new tab. For instance, when I signed in Google alerted me that emails from Daytrotter, InSound and my florist will begin showing up here.

You can adjust what gets funneled into this tab and even remove the tab if you like. You can also adjust your ad settings to control what kind of ads you see. On the surface, this sounds like a handy feature and a thoughtful addition by the Google team.

According to Cnet, however, Twitter user Antonio Gulli was pursuing his Gmail inbox and spotted something interesting; an emailed advertisement that he hadn’t signed up for.

According to the picture Tweeted by Gulli, Google shades these emails and even tags them as such with an “Ad” marking. When hovering over that circled “i,” which has come to mean “more information,” Google explains: “These ads are based on information from your Google account. Ad Settings puts you in control of the ads you see.”

Cnet says that so far Google appears to be testing these new ads on some users and haven’t yet rolled it out to everyone, but if you do begin receiving them, you might not be able to opt-out.

Google’s mail gives you the option to say you don’t want to see a certain kind of advertisement. If you click dismiss, that promotion won’t be sent again says Cnet.

Alternatively (and this likely won’t happen often), if you receive an ad you enjoy or find of particular interest, you can save it to your inbox or forward it to friends.

Though Google will allow you to more or less choose which paid-for advertisements you see, it doesn’t look like they’ll give you the option to stop seeing ads altogether. You may very well never see another ad for a data storage network once you tell Google the ad’s not relevant to you, but you can bet your sweet bippy they’ve got someone else on deck to pitch you their wares.

Oh, and those Primary and Social tabs?

They divide your inbox into your main email and emails from social networks like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. You can also turn these tabs off altogether and lump all your emails into one inbox, just as it’s always been.

Again, it’s no surprise Google is taking information they’ve gleaned from you and using it to sell ads.

Earlier this year, Microsoft began a campaign to alert Gmail users of this practice; though it’s likely many were probably already wise to Google’s game.

If you’ve already embraced the reality of constantly being pitched to, the tested Google ads might not bother you. Otherwise, you may want to reconsider your email needs.

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