But Google’s Email Scanning, in General, Isn’t Going to Stop, Is it?

A blog post, last week, from the Goog – As G Suite gains traction in the enterprise, G Suite’s Gmail and consumer Gmail to more closely align:

G Suite’s Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalization, and Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer Gmail service. Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change.

So presumably, then, Google was doing something functionally similar to the below, where emails are scanned and the results of the scanning are used directly to support personalised ad delivery:

But even though scanning “for ad personalisation” will stop, scanning of email will presumably continue – for spam detection, in support of antivirus/malware protection, to extract structured information that can be passed to other Google services…

As an example of the latter, I just booked a hotel room and the email confirmation went to my Gmail account. As if by magic, the booking details are extracted and placed in my Google calendar, which then synchs to my phone calendar: book a room online, and booking details appear the calendar on my phone.

Really useful…

But…

Does that mean my emails can still be used to power ad personalisation, albeit at one step remove?

For example, will Google still consider events in Google calendar as fair game for generating personalised ads?

Here, the emails aren’t being used directly to drive ad personalistion, although derived versions of the data scraped from the emails are…

PS The above diagrams were generated using actdiag, a “simple activity-diagram image generator”, which runs as an online service and is also available as a python package (though it didn’t work for me in Jupyter notebooks last time I tried). To create the diagram, you write it, and the rendering is done by machine.

Here’s the script I used to create the first diagram:

{
  Email -> EmailScanner -> AdPersonalise -> AdDeliver -> PersonalisedAds;

  lane Google {
    PersonalisedAds;
  }
  lane Gmail {
    Email;
  }
  lane Scanner {
    EmailScanner;
  }
  lane AdSense {
    AdPersonalise; AdDeliver;
  }
}

And here’s the second.

{
   Email -> EmailScanner -> Calendar  -> EventScan -> AdPersonalise -> AdDeliver -> PersonalisedAds;

  lane Google {
    PersonalisedAds;
  }
  lane Gmail {
    Email;
  }
  lane GoogleCalendar {
    Calendar;
  }
  lane Scanner {
    EmailScanner; EventScan;
  }
  lane AdSense {
    AdPersonalise; AdDeliver;
  }
}

The same service supports other chart types too.

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