Google has begun notifying users of its email system, Gmail, that "better ads" are on the way. Being sure to note that "ads in Gmail are fully automated" and that "no humans read your messages," the company announced that it will be using a process similar to that of Priority Inbox to bring users fewer, but more relevant, advertisements.
Can the company pull off more precise advertising without creeping out its user base?
"To ensure a quality user experience for all Gmail users, we avoid showing ads reflecting sensitive or inappropriate content by only showing ads that have been classified as 'Family-Safe,'" reads the policy. "We also avoid targeting ads to messages about catastrophic events or tragedies."
Google says that it plans on better targeting advertising not only to provide a better experience, but to show "fewer irrelevant ads" and provide "offers and coupons for your local area." How? With the same technology it uses to categorize emails in your Priority Inbox.
With features like Priority Inbox, we've been working hard to help sort through the 'bacn' in your messages -- the unimportant messages that get in your way. Soon we're going to try a similar approach to ads: using some of the same signals that help predict which messages are likely to be important to you, Gmail will better predict which ads may be useful to you. For example, if you've recently received a lot of messages about photography or cameras, a deal from a local camera store might be interesting. On the other hand if you've reported these messages as spam, you probably don't want to see that deal.
Google told TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid, who first noticed the feature, that it would be notifying users over coming days about the feature but that personalized ads won't go live for about a month. Users who don't want any other eyes - computer or not - to be pouring over their emails will have to ability to opt out.
Will you keep the advertising machine running or will you opt out? (And did you know that you already could opt out of Gmail ads?)