Google has often been criticized for its data mining practices, which include scanning of Gmail accounts to serve users targeted ads on other Google properties. Though today the company announced that it will no longer scan student Gmail accounts for this purpose. Google Apps for Education is already free from ads, users aren’t served ads in Gmail, and now starting today their accounts won’t be scanned for targeted ads on other properties as well.
The announcement comes on the heels of Microsoft launching an ad-free version of Bing for schools. Naturally Google would have felt that it needed to make some changes to its education programs as well. Microsoft has led an entire attack campaign against Google called “Scroogled” to primarily highlight its data mining practices.
Students will no doubt welcome Google’s decision to stop scanning their account, and it looks like business and government accounts might get the same treatment as well. A report claims that Google is also considering halting Gmail account scanning for businesses and government too.
This will certainly cool down some of the privacy concerns that surround Gmail. However Google doesn’t appear to be in any mood to spare regular Gmail users. Their accounts will continue to be scanned for the purpose of targeting advertisements. It is a business after all.