Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/21/gmail_ads_more_money/

Google taps Gmail for more clicks with ad tweak

Hit me slowly, hit me quick

By Kelly Fiveash

Posted in Applications, 21st January 2010 12:39 GMT

Google has tweaked how it slots ads into Gmail, so that you need never be short of distractions while reading your email.

The world's largest ad broker has done its best to tell Googlemail users that the change is intended to serve its users with adverts that might better meet their needs.

But the reality is of course much simpler than that: the company wants to host ads that will make Mountain View richer.

In a blog post penned by Gmail product wonk Steve Crossan yesterday, Google tried to justify its decision by saying that ads would better suit each email a user reads.

"Ever since we launched Gmail, we've tried to show relevant and unobtrusive ads. We're always trying to improve our algorithms to show better, more useful ads," said Crossan.

The firm's ad-loaded web mail had previously linked ads to relevant subjects mentioned in individual messages.

So if an email contained information about a hotel in Chicago, explained Crossan, then it might have carried ads about flights to that destination.

"But sometimes, there aren't any good ads to match to a particular message. From now on, you'll sometimes see ads matched to another recent email instead," he said.

In other words, the premium ads will get a much bigger slice of the Gmail pie from now on.

Crossan was also quick to point out that the cheeky little tweak to Google's Gmail ad policy would not affect an individual's email privacy - well, at least no more so than it had done already.

"To show these ads, our systems don't need to store any extra information - Gmail just picks a different recent email to match. The process is entirely automated: no humans are involved in selecting ads, and no email or personal information is shared with advertisers."

Oh, well that's alright then, because now we have dusty old emails and Google bots together at last. ®