Google stops scanning emails for Education users, and permanently removes ads option too

Google stops scanning emails for Education users, and permanently removes ads option too

Google Apps for Education users will no longer have their emails scanned for use in advertising, according to an announcement from the Internet giant earlier today.

To recap, Apps for Education is used by K-12 schools around the world, and it delivers free online applications including Gmail, Docs, Spreadsheet and more. Around 30 million students, teachers and administrators use the service today, according to Google.

Although Google has always disabled ads by default in Apps for Education, and ads were removed completely in Google Search last year for signed-in users, it was still possible to enable ads via the main Administrator console. This feature is now being removed completely, though there will still be the ability to display existing ads for those who had enabled the feature prior to this change.

However, perhaps the interesting news is that Google is now removing all ads scanning within Gmail for Apps for Education, which it says means that it can’t collect or otherwise tap student data for advertising. This move may not be entirely without motive though – remember that student-led lawsuit that’s winding its way through the US court system? Though it’s well-known that Google mines emails in standard Gmail inboxes to help it serve up more tailored adverts, this also included its Apps for Education suite, which muddied the waters a little bit. Certainly, it seems like this move is related to the lawsuit.

Moreover, Google says it’s also making similar changes to other Google Apps customers, which covers government, business and legacy users of the free incarnation. Though more details on this aren’t yet forthcoming, Google says it will “provide an update when the rollout is complete.”

Feature Image Credit – GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images

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