How to limit Google’s targeted ads in Gmail

Moving ahead from our last week’s update on Google scans your content – Email and everything else!, we have more interesting news for you.


In Google’s defense for coming out in the clear about the policy update claiming that they scan emails to display more relevant ads, this is something they have been doing for quite some time – Why? – Obviously to leverage on their humongous ad network and make advertising bucks. That it has made these statements as a part of their privacy policy is merely meant to clarify what’s already been going on.


The update has come right after Google was allowed to walk away from a class-action lawsuit regarding wiretapping user emails with scanning of incoming emails from non-Gmail users being the main argument. The new terms explicitly clarify that Google deploys automated systems that scan all incoming, outgoing, and archived mail to provide you with more tailored ads in Gmail and Search. The updated paragraph in the new policy says:

“Our automated systems analyze your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customized search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored.”


This actually means that even though your email may be getting scanned (not read) by automated software (not humans) for more personalized ads in Gmail, Google is also looking for potential spam and malware – so it’s not entirely bad news. While there’s no way to stop Gmail from actually scanning your emails, there are ways to limit the overall interest-based ads being served to you.

Gmail Ads


How to opt out of Interest-based Ads

For those wanting more control over the ads displayed in Gmail, a simple solution is to hover to the ‘Ads Setting Page’ for their Google account. Under the ‘Ads on Google’ section, scroll down and click on the ‘Opt out of interest-based ads on Google’ to disable personalized ads.


Be noted that this will only disable ‘interest-based’ ads in your Gmail and other Google apps that are based on your Search queries and other activities. This does not mean that you’ll get rid of all the contextual ads that Google serves based on the email message you’ve been reading or are currently reading. Currently, there is no fix for this.

Opting out of Gmail Ads


How to disable Web Clips Ads

In case you want to also disable the ‘Web Clips’ that show at the very top of your opened emails, just navigate to the ‘Web Clips’ settings and un-check ‘Show my web clips above the Inbox’. However, this will relieve you only of the ads along the top – in-between the tools and email – but you’ll still continue to receive ads below your email and along the right side.

Web Clips Settings

How to disable ads in the Promotions Tab

Did you know that you could disable ads that appear under the ‘Promotions’ tab in your Gmail Inbox?

To do this you have to disable the entire ‘Promotions’ tab, which basically means that the rest of your subscribed email will show up in one of the other tabs. Click the cog in the top-right corner to go to the Settings menu. Click on ‘Configure Inbox’ and un-check the ‘Promotions’ tab and save your settings.

Gmail Ad Sample

Getting rid of the Promotions Tab

You may try all the above mentioned gimmicks in order to reduce the quantum of ads served to you by Google, but the fact of the matter is that you cannot completely escape its vicious ad circle. At best, you can control what it’s scanning to an extent and be content that it’s distracting you just a bit less than it previously did.


How to entirely avoid ads in Gmail

If you’re really hell-bent on getting rid of all Gmail ads, you may simply revert to using Gmail’s basic HTML view. This way you can be certain that you’ll see absolutely zero ads, but with it you’ll also be kissing goodbye to the entire plush Gmail experience – the spell checker, the rich formatting, and the chat. Alternatively you could set up a third-party mail client like Apple Mail use browser extensions like AdBlock Plus or Gmelius.


Happy emailing!!





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