While advertising has filtered into almost every aspect of our lives, especially our Google services, GMail for mobile devices had remained clean and untainted by advertising. Sadly, with the latest update to GMail, that may be coming to an end.
GMail 4.6, which changes the app to a card layout, will also apparently be bringing the advertising. During an APK teardown, Android Police discovered that, well, there was plenty of code for putting “context-relevant marketing” all up in your phone:
The appears to suggest that you'll be able to save ads as messages. Like an ad? Save it, and it'll become part of your inbox. Don't like it, and it'll get dismissed.
Yeah, somehow we don't think that save function is going to get a lot of use, call us crazy. Now, that dismiss function, that'll be a popular feature.
In some ways, this was inevitable: Google is a business built on selling billions of ads to billions of people for a dime a pop, and GMail is one of their most popular apps. Similarly, there's no gun to your head forcing you to read your GMail on the official email app; Android being Android there are dozens of ways to look at all your messages. Google just happens to do it a lot better than most apps.
Still, it's hard not to wonder how, precisely, GMail's users are going to take this; there's no way that ads aren't going to clutter the mobile app at least a little, as you literally can't have advertising without having it infringe on the user experience. On the bright side, these ads can't be more annoying than GMail on the web, at least.