One of the weirder survival skills that humanity’s been forced to rapidly develop over the last few years is the ability to just sort of blithely ignore the scarier parts of Google’s information stranglehold on the planet. Sure, the search engine monolith knows your passwords, your personal beliefs, and pretty much every single thing you’ve masturbated to for the last 15 years. But it just makes things so dang convenient! Now, though, the company has announced that it’s scaling back its information gathering—slightly—by no longer analyzing your emails to determine what products it should advertise at you.
Note that we didn’t say “Stop scanning your emails, period”; the company’s still going to do that, searching for stuff like flight details and delays and the information it needs so that it can keep doing that “Sure!”, “No thanks!”, “I’m secretly in love with you!” Smart Reply thing it recently started appending to the Gmail app. But at least you’ll no longer send your mom a message asking about how her sciatica is treating her, only to get bombarded by a billion online ads for SCIATICA BUSTER, THE INTERNET’S ONLY GUARANTEED DESTROYER OF SCIATICA.
Before we get all “Thank you, oh wise and merciful Google,” though, it’s worth noting that the move seems to be less about respecting online privacy, and more about consolidating the company’s current email programs. Users of Google’s business-focused email service, G Suite, have never been subject to the ad scans; the company’s just started applying that policy to its free Gmail service, as well.