This March 23, 2010, file photo shows the Google logo at the Google headquarters in Brussels. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)
SAN FRANCISCO — Google is going to stop reading your Gmail in search of opportunities to sell ads.
The change announced Friday will end a practice that Google has embraced since the company introduced Gmail in 2004. The practice has raised concerns among privacy watchdogs and creeped out some users.
To help finance the free service, Google has been scanning through what Gmail users were discussing and then showing ads connected to some of the topics. Someone writing about running, for instance, might see ads for Nike or Asics shoes.
Google still plans to show ads within Gmail. But instead of scanning through email content, the company's software will rely on other signals to determine which ads are most likely to appeal to each of its 1.2 billion Gmail users.
The Mountain View, California, company said it would stop the ad-driven scanning of Gmail later this year.