Google to stop reading your Gmail to help sell ads

FILE - This Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, file photo shows Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google is intensifying its campaign to fight online extremism, saying it will put more resources toward identifying and removing videos related to terrorism and hate groups. In a blog post Sunday, June 18, 2017, Google said that it will train more workers, called “content classifiers,” to identify and remove extremist and terrorism-related content faster. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google is going to stop reading your Gmail in search of opportunities to sell ads.

The change announced Friday will end a practice that Google has embraced since the company introduced Gmail in 2004, even though it raised concerns among privacy watchdogs and creeped out some users.

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. Someone writing about running, for instance, might see ads for Nike or Asics shoes.

Google still plans to show ads within Gmail. But instead of scanning through email content, the company’s algorithms will rely on other signals to determine which ads are most likely to appeal to each of its 1.2 billion Gmail users.