Menu
EN

Google litters Gmail with more ads, including in-between mails. Will this push users over the edge?

Have you recently opened your Gmail inbox and felt overwhelmed by the number of ads or confused about them popping up in random spots? If so, you are not alone. Many Gmail users have reported seeing ads in places where there were none before.

According to 9to5Google, ads have for the first time recently come to the Gmail inbox’s ‘Updates’ filter, a section primarily reserved for emails about orders, bills and the like. But that’s not all. Although Gmail’s other tabs, ‘Social’ and ‘Promotions,’ were already populated with ads, those ads were generally relegated to the top of the inbox. That made them easily distinguishable from genuine emails. Not longer, it seems.

On Twitter, users have shared screenshots of their inboxes, where messages with the green ‘Ad’ label would be strewn all over the email lists. And it does not look pretty.

Users have noticed ads in-between mails in Gmail

Google has confirmed in a statement to the media that Gmail is now displaying ads in between messages. The company’s spokesperson told the Verge that Google first introduced ‘instream’ ads in the Promotions tab on mobile last year, and is now expanding the feature to desktop

The new ad-heavy look of Gmail inbox has prompted users to vent their frustrations online, and some reached out directly to the ‘Big G’ for explanations. In response to a user who complained that seeing ads in the middle of her inbox was “NOT COOL”, the official Gmail account on Twitter seemed to agree: “That doesn’t sound good.”

But… Gmail… then why?

New ad placements triggered criticism

Declining ad revenue: milking the cow while you still can?

Google’s ad revenue is dwindling. Despite beating expectations in the first quarter of this year, Alphabet’s ad sales still dropped slightly (1%) from the same period last year, marking the third quarter of decline since 2004 and the second quarter in a row.

On top of that, Google also faces a formidable rival in Microsoft in search, where it has been the dominant force for years and where most of its money comes from: ‘search ads and other’ accounted for more than half Google’s revenue this quarter. Microsoft beat Google to the punch in the AI race by integrating OpenAI’s GPT-4 model into its revamped Bing search engine. And while Microsoft has so far failed to gain ground on Google in terms of search market share, it still can — much depends on how well Google catches up in AI, where Microsoft now has an edge. Google’s answer to Bing AI, its own AI-powered search engine called Search Generative Experience, is still a work in progress, and it’s unclear how it will fare against Microsoft’s Bing AI. One thing we do know is that Google’s new search engine will have search ads from day one — the company apparently doesn’t want to miss out on any of that ad money.

Many Google’s initiatives of late are aimed at boosting its shrinking ad revenue. We already wrote about ads for physical products, such as cars and offline stores, that have come to Android and Google TVs, and Google-owned YouTube launching its crusade on ad blockers with potentially negative results for both viewers and creators.

Google’s strategy to cope with declining ad revenue and slow growth seems to be bombarding its free users with more and more ads, while nudging them to switch to its paid offerings. This approach raises doubts, especially since Google's ad network is increasingly abused by 'bad ads' that spread malware and other harmful content. While it’s too early to draw any conclusions, so far, it has only caused frustration among Gmail users and prompted some to look for alternatives.

Users are asking for alternatives to Gmail

As Gmail fills up with more ads, will its new features become a step too far that pushes users to look for cleaner, less ad-polluted alternatives? We have yet to see, but as the saying goes, one can only take so much. Meanwhile, Proton, a provider of secure encrypted email service that offers both free and paid plans, did not miss the opportunity to tout its own product in the wake of Gmail’s news.

Gmail’s focus on ads is a marketing opportunity for competitors

Whether the new ad placements become a deal breaker for at least some of the users or not, they certainly do not improve user experience. And if Google continues to add more ads to Gmail in the future — which is likely given its dependence on ad revenue — it will only get worse. One day, the tipping point will be reached and Google will have to change its course or face the risk of losing users. The trouble is, it may be too late to fix anything by then.

Liked this post?

AdGuard for Windows

AdGuard for Windows is more than an ad blocker. It is a multipurpose tool that blocks ads, controls access to dangerous sites, speeds up page loading, and protects children from inappropriate content.
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Read more

AdGuard for Mac

AdGuard for Mac is a unique ad blocker designed with macOS in mind. In addition to protecting you from annoying ads in browsers and apps, it shields you from tracking, phishing, and fraud.
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Read more

AdGuard for Android

AdGuard for Android is a perfect solution for Android devices. Unlike most other ad blockers, AdGuard doesn't require root access and provides a wide range of app management options.
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement

AdGuard for iOS

The most advanced ad blocker for Safari: it makes you forget about pop-up ads, speeds up page loading, and protects your personal data. A manual element-blocking tool and highly customizable settings help you tailor the filtering to your exact needs.
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement

AdGuard Browser Extension

AdGuard is the fastest and most lightweight ad blocking extension that effectively blocks all types of ads on all web pages! Choose AdGuard for the browser you use and get ad-free, fast and safe browsing.
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5

AdGuard for Safari

Ad blocking extensions for Safari are having hard time since Apple started to force everyone to use the new SDK. AdGuard extension is supposed to bring back the high quality ad blocking back to Safari.
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5
App Store
Download
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement

AdGuard Home

AdGuard Home is a network-wide software for blocking ads & tracking. After you set it up, it’ll cover ALL your home devices, and you don’t need any client-side software for that. With the rise of Internet-Of-Things and connected devices, it becomes more and more important to be able to control your whole network.
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5

AdGuard Content Blocker

AdGuard Content Blocker will eliminate all kinds of ads in mobile browsers that support content blocker technology — namely, Samsung Internet and Yandex.Browser. While being more limited than AdGuard for Android, it is free, easy to install and still provides high ad blocking quality.
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Read more

AdGuard Assistant

A companion browser extension for AdGuard desktop apps. It offers an in-browser access to such features as custom element blocking, allowlisting a website or sending a report.
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5
Assistant for Chrome Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Firefox Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Edge Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Opera Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Yandex Is it your current browser?
Install
By downloading the program you accept the terms of the License agreement
Assistant for Safari Is it your current browser?
If you can't find your browser, try the old legacy Assistant version, which you can find in AdGuard extension settings.

AdGuard Temp Mail β

A free temporary email address generator that keeps you anonymous and protects your privacy. No spam in your main inbox!
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5

AdGuard for Android TV

AdGuard for Android TV is the only app that blocks ads, guards your privacy, and acts as a firewall for your Smart TV. Get warnings about web threats, use secure DNS, and benefit from encrypted traffic. Relax and dive into your favorite shows with top-notch security and zero ads!
User Reviews: 13012
4.7 out of 5
Downloading AdGuard To install AdGuard, click the file indicated by the arrow Select "Open" and click "OK", then wait for the file to be downloaded. In the opened window, drag the AdGuard icon to the "Applications" folder. Thank you for choosing AdGuard! Select "Open" and click "OK", then wait for the file to be downloaded. In the opened window, click "Install". Thank you for choosing AdGuard!
Install AdGuard on your mobile device