Google has sparked controversy with its redesigned Gmail tabs, with users noticing they are getting ads from companies they did not sign up to receive.
Watch the Google promo touting Gmail’s new features below:
The news follows Google’s redesign of Gmail back in May that introduced a tabbed layout with categories like “primary,” “social” and “promotions.”
Over the last week as the redesign’s roll-out expanded, some people have seen fewer ads in their inbox while others have noticed newer ones styled as emails in the new “promotions” tab added to house marketing messages like daily deals emails and brand newsletters.
See a sample Tweet below:
Ads in GMAIL – sent as normal emails. Anyone else saw this? pic.twitter.com/oAgaT1mcAJ
— antonio.gulli (@gulliantonio) July 18, 2013
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.
Read the Venturebeat report here