Is google reading my emails? by underground
November 14, 2008, 11:07 am
Filed under: Journalism | Tags: , , , , ,

Having just started up a google email account, I was pleased to notice the lack of flashing advertisements blaring across the screen For you see, on my little laptop those adverts practically freeze my computer. I have to scroll down the screen in order to get the ad out of view so other pages can load. Otherwise I’m stuck. News sites often have these moving adverts in the middle of the news story, rendering the story unreadable on my laptop (hint: if you have this problem, read story in print mode!). The worst site for this, however, is the hotmail inbox page. Recent changes have prompted my move to Gmail, as one can no longer scroll down to remove the advert from view.

I was pleased to see no such adverts on the Gmail inbox page, and can now read my emails without fear of an epileptic seizure or risk not being able to view another page for ten minutes whilst I wait for a computer to come out of its own seizure. The adverts are much more subtle, in fact it was a few days till I actually noticed any.

Emailing an journalism lecturer about Thomas Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded (does anyone recommend it, it looks good), these adverts came up next to the email reply.

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku Book

Titles By Ngahuia Te Awekotuku Huge Selection. Save Up To 40% Now!
Study economics at Otago

Enhance your employability with a commerce degree at Otago University
The World Is Flat Summary

Save time with this analysis of Thomas Friedman’s bestseller.
@ Economics Jobs @

The world’s leading site for Economist Jobs
Google explains how they do it it here.

Ads & Related Information

Ads in Gmail are placed in the same way that ads are placed alongside Google search results and, through the Google AdSense program, on content pages across the web. The goal is to provide users with helpful ads, links and content relevant to their specific interests.

Gmail is a technology-based program. Advertising and related information are shown using a completely automated process. Ads are selected for relevance and served by Google computers using the same contextual advertising technology that powers our AdSense program. This technology enables Google to target dynamically changing content such as email or daily news stories.

No humans will read the content of your email in order to target such advertisements or related information. Because the ads and related pages are matched to information that is of interest to you, we hope you’ll find them relevant and useful.

Gmail users can’t opt out of receiving ads because these sponsored links help Google support the cost of providing Gmail for free to our users. Instead of serving pop-ups and untargeted banner ads, Gmail displays text ads using our contextual advertising technology. These ads should be relevant to the content of your messages and we hope you’ll find them useful.

Your Privacy

Google does not and will never rent, sell or share information that personally identifies you for marketing purposes without your express permission. No email content or other personally identifiable information will be provided to advertisers.

Privacy is an issue we take very seriously. Only ads classified as Family-Safe are distributed through our content network and to your Gmail inbox. For example, Google would block certain ads from running next to an email about catastrophic news.

I’ve posted previously about Google’s advertisement links on websites, then looking at how unfortunate the adverts are associated with news stories. Counseling for those with a fear of flying advertised next to plane crash stories for example. Google’s blocking mechanism appears to be a bit shit.

The conspiracy nutters will no doubt warn my not to continue using gmail for my highly secretive and subversive messages for no doubt someone in silicone valley must surely be reading them, but I’m stoked to have my computer running happily. And I might just read the Friedman book summary from that site! Thanks Google!


1 Comment so far
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Yes, yes, and yes. It’s a great book. I found a good post on Peterman’s Eye about the book that might help:



Comment by Tina Marshall

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