Gmail starts displaying more ads in users' inboxes, and it's frustrating

Gmail logo on desktop
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Reports throughout the week cite Google's apparent uptick in ads in Gmail.
  • "Updates" in users' inboxes on mobile have gained ads which is previously never had.
  • Other categories such as Promotions and Social have seemingly gained additional ads throughout a user's email list on mobile and desktop.

By now, ads in the Google ecosystem are as common as its multi-colored icons. However, one thing users would probably be fine without is the increase in ads over the past few days, as spotted in Gmail.

9to5Google reports that mobile and web (desktop) devices have started receiving an uptick in ads, with the former displaying them in the "Updates" category. This section usually brings important personal emails, such as order confirmations and bills to the top for your attention. It's useful just in itself, but users reported seeing ads appear in their primary inbox's Updates section, whereas they're usually only found in the Social and Promotions categories.

On desktop, this is a little different, as some reports show desktop computers gaining ads sprinkled throughout a user's inboxes, and not just sitting at the top.

Personally, on mobile, I've received the traditional two ads at the top of my Promotional list, alongside two additional ads tossed in as I scroll down. That's four ads in total, and it seems to stop there. After getting by those extra two, my email list is just that: a list of emails. However, many colleagues have yet to experience this sudden influx of ads, so it doesn't appear to affect everyone.

Throughout the week, users have been taking to Twitter to voice their frustrations over Google's increase in Gmail ads. It's evident this change isn't sitting well with people considering how disruptive ads can become while trying to sift through your email and respond to what's needed. Fortunately, they're fairly easy to spot with the ad label next to the subject.

Right now, it's unclear how widespread the uptick in ads is.

It's understandable that ads are part of Google's business model because, after all, the company needs them to generate revenue. However, there have been instances where their ad increase has overwhelmed users. Late last year, Google tested un-skippable six to fifteen-second ads with users on YouTube — and people quickly displayed their annoyance with it. The test did conclude but clearly didn't sit well with the ones unknowingly tossed into the fray.

More recently, one might note, Google brought overlay ads on YouTube videos to a close on April 6. While this ad format was restricted to web-based device views, Youtube stated the ads were "disruptive for viewers." The same can and has, been said about the sudden uptick in Gmail. But perhaps, this is another test the Mountain View-based company is trying out with users, one that will hopefully be rolled back.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.