Google to stop reading your Gmail to help sell ads

Google, Alphabet
FILE - This Oct. 20, 2015, file photo, shows a sign outside Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google is warning users Wednesday, May 3, 2017, to beware of a phishing scam spread by a fraudulent invitation to share a Google Doc. (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.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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