Google is going to stop reading your Gmail for the purpose of selling advertisements.
The change will end a practice, which has raised concerns among privacy watchdogs, that Google has been following since the company introduced its Gmail service in 2004.
To help finance the free service, Google has been scanning through what Gmail users were discussing and then showing ads connected to some of the topics.
For example, if you were writing about running, you might see ads for running shoes.
However, Google still plans to show ads within Gmail.
Instead of scanning through email content, its software will rely on other signals to determine which ads are most likely to appeal to each of its 1.2 billion Gmail users.
The tech giant said it would stop the ad-driven scanning of Gmail later this year.
Google says it is changing course so its free Gmail service operates more like the subscription version that it has sold to more than three million companies.
Although the paid Gmail does not include ads, Google said some of its business customers incorrectly assumed the company was scanning those accounts as well.
So, by ending all scanning, Google hopes to end the confusion and sell Gmail to even more businesses.
Gmail now ranks as the world’s largest email service, which might possibly indicate that most people did not care about Google’s scanning methods.