After Microsoft expands ad-free Bing, Google to shield students from ads

After Microsoft expands ad-free Bing, Google to shield students from ads
Google will no longer try to sell ads based on personal information collected about students using a suite of products tailored for schools.

The changes announced Wednesday revise some of the policies governing Google's "Apps for Education" products, and come days after Microsoft announced an expansion of its ad-free Bing search program for schools.

Among other things, Google Inc. says it will no longer scan texts of Gmails sent through Apps for Education for clues about students' interests. The scanning would give the company a better idea about what kinds of ads to show them.

Google is also removing an option that allowed school administrators to show Gmail ads when students were using Apps for Education. The Mountain View, Calif., company had been automatically blocking the ads unless administrator changed the controls.

More than 30 million students, teachers and administrators use the Apps for Education suite.

Google announced the changes via a blog post:

Today, we're taking additional steps to enhance the educational experience for Apps for Education customers:
  • We've permanently removed the "enable/disable" toggle for ads in the Apps for Education Administrator console. This means ads in Apps for Education services are turned off and administrators no longer have the option or ability to turn ads in these services on.
  • We've permanently removed all ads scanning in Gmail for Apps for Education, which means Google cannot collect or use student data in Apps for Education services for advertising purposes.

Users who have chosen to show AdSense ads on their Google Sites will still have the ability to display those existing ads on their websites. However, it will no longer be possible to edit or add new AdSense ads to existing sites or to new pages.

We're also making similar changes for all our Google Apps customers, including Business, Government and for legacy users of the free version, and we'll provide an update when the rollout is complete.

Written with inputs from Associated Press

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