Google has a funny little blog post today on the Gmail Blog. Apparently, they’ve decided to change the way they’re serving advertisements in Gmail. Why? They say it’s in the name of serving ads that are more relevant to users. But really, it’s fairly obvious that it’s about serving ads that will bring in more money.
In the example they give, Google says that if you previously read an email confirming a hotel in Chicago, and were served an ad about flights to Chicago in Gmail, you might see that same ad when you’re reading an email wishing you a happy birthday. The thought is that there wouldn’t be a good ad to serve you related to this birthday message. That’s probably not true — instead, it’s probably an ad with a much lower click rate (and CPC rate) that makes Google less money.
Here’s something else Google notes that’s interesting:
To show these ads, our systems don’t need to store any extra information — Gmail just picks a different recent email to match. The process is entirely automated: no humans are involved in selecting ads, and no email or personal information is shared with advertisers.
Since the beginning of Gmail and its AdSense contextual ads, there has been much concern that Google was reading all of your email to serve up the best ads. Google employees aren’t reading them, but their bots are, and now they’re going to start reading some older ones that you’re not even looking at as well, apparently.
Now, how exactly reading another unrelated email will serve up a more contextually relevant ad, I’m not sure. Actually, I am. In this Google equation, “relevancy” simply means “ad more likely to make us money.”
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...
Gmail, also known as Google Mail, is a free email service provided by Google which has innovative features such as “conversation view” email threads, search-oriented interface, and plenty of free storage (almost 7.7GB). Gmail opened in private beta mode in April 2004 by invitation only. At first, invites were hard to come by and were spotted up for sale on auction sites like eBay. The email service is now open to everyone and is part of Google Apps. ...