If Microsoft thought Google was “Scroogling” people with the way the search giant uses the contents of Gmail messages to deliver ads, it may have a field day with a new Gmail feature that makes advertisements appear as emails.
Google recently redesigned its Gmail interface to offer users more control over what they see by organizing messages into five groups: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. Now, some users are seeing paid-for-placement messages labeled as “Ads,” highlighted in yellow and showing up in the “Promotions” tab that’s designed to show non-important email from companies like Groupon or Google Offers.
Ads in GMAIL – sent as normal emails. Anyone else saw this? pic.twitter.com/oAgaT1mcAJ
— antonio.gulli (@gulliantonio) July 18, 2013
Google already placed ad banners alongside Gmail messages, but never within one’s inbox. These new advertisments can be opened and forwarded on to others just like a regular email. Marketing Land calls the new ads “an iteration of the Gmail Sponsored Promotion ad type,” with advertisers charged on a cost-per-click basis.
In a statement sent to Venture Beat, Google said that “instead of ads always appearing at the top of your inbox, they’ve been relegated to a more appropriate place in your Promotions category.”
It appears the only way to disable this new feature, which is reportedly in beta, is to remove the Promotions tab or go back to the old Gmail design.