After it started offering a new tabbed interface for Gmail that allows you to sort your mails into different tabs on the basis of the content or senders
, Google has now started serving advertisements disguised as emails in the 'Promotions' tab.
The ads appear as highlighted messages in peach colour similar to how Google's related ads are listed in search listings. They also come with a message saying that "These ads are based on information from your Google account. Ads Settings puts you in control of the ads you see."
This implies that ads are served on the basis of information from the user's Google account but Google doesn't clarify whether it also scans the users' emails to come up with targeted ads in the inbox. It also means that Google is contributing to spam - or unwanted mails which are one of the biggest nuisance for users of email services.
However, Google defends itself by saying that users are looking for new promotions when they look for emails under the Promotions tab and that it's simply banking on that opportunity.
In a response to a query by online publication VentureBeat, Google said
that ads are less intrusive as they're now being served under the promotions category and not on top of the user's inbox. It also adds that the ads will only be displayed when they're relevant and can be dismissed by clicking on a button accompanying these ads.
Google also responded to The Verge saying
that advertising partners do not have any more access to users' email address or personal information than they did before. It also mentioned that while some ads feature an external link, others just expand in the users' inbox.
It's worth pointing out that Facebook and Twitter also offer intrusive content on their native web and mobile apps in the form of sponsored stories and promoted tweets, respectively. So it appears that Google's making ads an integral part of the Gmail experience to appease advertisers, which bring in the bulk of its income.Image courtesy: @gulliantonio on Twitter