Ads are starting to appear in Gmail’s Android app


Gmail banner

Last week, we showed you that the latest Gmail update for Android contained code that may potentially pave the way for advertisements to appear inside the Gmail app. Today, ads are starting to appear for some users, showing up inside the Promotional mail category folder.

Up until today, Gmail’s Android app has managed to stay ad-free, while the desktop version of Gmail has contained ads since it launched back in April 2004. Seeing as advertising is an extremely large portion of Google’s yearly revenue, it’s almost shocking that Gmail’s Android app has stayed ad-free for so long. While many readers were upset to hear that Google had plans to implement advertisements inside Gmail, rest assured, it’s not all that bad.

Gmail Ads

As you can see above, these ads don’t really look like advertisements themselves. They actually look very similar to an email message and tastefully so, show up inside the Promotional category folder alongside other advertisement based emails that you receive. If you never open the Promotional mail folder, you’ll never know that Gmail contains advertisements now. Not bad Google.

Are advertisements showing up in your Gmail app? What do you think?

[Source: AndroidWorld]

Derek Ross
I'm a passionate Android enthusiast that's on the pulse of the latest Android news, writing about Android as often as possible. I'm also a little addicted to social networking. Hit me up, I'd love to chat.

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  1. … and I don’t use the expanded in-box so won’t ever see them?

    1. At least for now that seems to be the case. Anything could change in the future.

  2. Do people know that Google supports IMAP? Unless you insist on using the Google application this is a nonissue.

    1. Forgive me for being unfamiliar on the subject of IMAP, but how do I manage to get my G-Mail email without dealing with ads? I deserve to have some distance from ads and my email. Spam is filtered out, so that doesn’t bother me. I literally use G-Mail as my email for everything.

      1. Download a program like K9 or other email app and set it up

        1. Okay, thanks. Will try it once I get my HTC One fixed. USPS screwed up my package arriving to T-Mobile for a replacement, so I have to wait to either make a claim or to get it back at some point in the future.

    2. Won’t be long before they start charging or just shut down IMAP

  3. We all realize that google is an ad company, right? Like, 80% of their revenue comes from it. So if we’re to continue to want and get all the free services Google provides (something that has grown exponentially over the years) we can expect some new delivery systems for their primary revenue source.
    I am OK with this. I want to support this company, because I believe in what they do.
    And it’s not a fanboy thing, as I realize this will turn a lot of people off. It’s a “realistic expectations” thing.

    1. I’m glad you’re ok with being a whore to the advertising industry, but some of us would prefer paid options.

      1. Lol if you use any of Google’s services, you’re already a whore for the ad industry.
        And paid services has never been their game. They’re not a services company. They’re an ad company.

        1. I don’t currently use any Google services that have ads (or none that I can see anyway), except for search.

          1. If you go to websites, you’ve probably seen Google Adsense ads. If you use search, you’ve definitely seen Google Adwords ads. If you use chrome or search (or any other service), you’re giving Google your data, which they use to show you targeted ads through other services.

    2. The entire internet is ad-based. But that doesn’t change the fact that ads don’t appear on my browser. Ever.

        1. Ad block plus

          1. I disable it for all sites except for download/streaming sites that spam download buttons. I actually like funding the sites I frequent.

    3. I understand Google is an ad company but if they start putting annoying ads in every single place they can I’m just gonna start using other companies softwares. Google is amazing and probably the most inventive Company out there, they can and should find other ways to monetize without ruining the user experience.

      1. I don’t know that putting an ad in the promotions tab necessarily ruins the UX, but your argument makes sense.

        1. The problem is that this is just the beginning, plus promotion tab is not as nice as it sounds because in reality all my online purchase emails end up there and believe me I buy everything I possibly can online on amazon and or ebay. Google is awesome and the Gmail desktop website is already over crowded for my taste. The app on the phone in a small screen is way too much for me… I mean they should do that just for iOS!! xD

          1. You can change the layout of the gmail web page. And it’s just the difference of opinion. I’m OK with seeing some ads in exchange for using such a great client and service.
            And I haven’t had that problem. I know you can set up a label to filter into another section (say, you can set a label for amazon’s emails and have that label filter into the primary tab).

          2. Hmm cool, in gonna look into it… u mean for the desktop version? The app I just use the Samsung email app that came with my Sammy device. With no ads. :)

          3. Yep. Click the gear to the left of the page.

        2. Do you really think it’s going to stay in the promotions tab? Wait until later versions of the app come out. It will find its way into your inbox soon enough.

          1. As I’ve said before, I don’t care where the ads are.

      2. They got to where they are by doing what they’ve been doing so I’m not going to tell them to do differently. If users start to use other services, they’ll get the point and back off with the ads.

    4. I don’t mind ads. I want to see the lazy phone Moto X ads, for example. But Google gives us all these lame ads that I am NOT interested in. That’s the problem.

      1. Google’s ads have always been like that, though.

  4. Like they say nothing is free……………………….

    1. K-9 is free. It doesn’t have ads…
      Firefox is free. It doesn’t have ads… in fact, you can download ad-block for it.

      Some things are free. I don’t understand this masochistic mindset where you think you have to apologize for a company that makes bad decisions at your expense.

  5. “show up inside the Promotional category folder alongside other advertisement based emails that you receive. If you never open the Promotional mail folder, you’ll never know that Gmail contains advertisements now. Not bad Google.”

    Was pretty unhappy till I saw this. I’m perfectly ok with this.

    1. Yes, but does it download the ads before or after you click on the promotional folder? If it loads them BEFORE, that’s using up your data and that’s not ok. If it loads it up after, then that’s a little better, but it’s still ridiculous to have ads in your e-mail app.

  6. Yeaaaah….noooooo I don’t think so. Use an email client like k-9 evo mail aqua mail or some such. Get push email for free and no adds. I love Android more than the next guy but free email is a cost of doing business. Google is NOT an ad company they are a SEARCH company that makes money from adds. When I search they can advertise all they want, when I email not so much. If they try to advertise in peoples mobile mail, taking up (albeit small amounts) it will back fire on them and rightfully so.

    1. I agree. Trying to point out simple facts here on this site when it comes to google is impossible. These dudes have google blinders on. Mark my words, google will begin charging for IMAP email as well. Time to migrate to another email service. Most people will end up moving back to whomever they purchase home data from. Just like it was before google free email.

  7. My email account won’t even let me use the promotion expanded options. I’m good. *shrug*

  8. That’s why im not downloading it lol…

  9. I don’t personally feel like this is a good idea. At one point, GMail was one of the only secondary services that Google had going for it. Finding a way to monetize it seemed important. Now things are VERY different.

    Google now has DOZENS of services and they’ve recently been tying EVERYTHING together by using your Google account as your login and identity Youtube, Maps, Google+, Google Play Store, Android Device Login, etc… and in my mind the backbone of this experience is E-Mail, something that every tech connected human being uses.

    GMail should be the “ATM with No Fees” that gets them inside the quickie mart, where they end up buying something else because they happen to be there.

    (That being said, I haven’t exactly seen Google’s balance sheet, so I’m not sure where Gmail’s huge server costs fit into that picture.)

    1. That is an interesting idea… much better than the “greedy google” arguments with no bearing. I am not sure if ads are going to affect gmail’s adoption and retention rates. Google is the master of simple, out of the way advertising. Treading lightly is definitely not a bad idea though

      1. It has less to do with gmail’s adoption and more to do with Android’s adoption. Why should an iPhone user, who has likely spent countless dollars in the Apple market, move to Android? Not only will it be expensive to re-purchase all of your favorite apps (I know, I’m doing it now), but now you have to shop around for a decent mail app if you don’t feel like seeing ads. It’s absurd, and it’s going to have a negative impact on Android as a whole. Especially when everyone starts installing adblocking apps to get rid of the clutter. Then legitimate ad-driven apps on Google Play get screwed because users don’t want to see ads in their e-mail app.

  10. Google is getting so greedy. I’m using the email app that came with my Note 3 (and comes with all Sam devices). Take that Google!!!

    1. You got gmail for free. :P

      1. Fal pe so greedy using free gmail! Ha

      2. I can get so many different email services for free, Google can and should look for other more innovative and less intrusive ways to monetize…

      3. And iPhone users get the Mail app for free. Both can use the gmail service, but only one has ads.

        Your point is moot.

    2. What you think they giving you Gmail for ?They have to make money.

      1. I understand Google is an ad company but if they start putting annoying ads in every single place they can I’m just gonna start using other companies softwares. Google is amazing and probably the most inventive Company out there, they can and should find other ways to monetize without ruining the user experience.

        1. seeing how its placed in a folder its ruining nothing you just are a whiner you can have your cake for free

          1. You can use gmail’s service via IMAP on any other e-mail app without ads. This does nothing but hurt Android users and Android’s reputation.

            And if you’re using K9, you can “have your cake for free”. There’s no fee for using the gmail service, but there is now a fee for using the app.

            Stupid decision.

          2. no ones stopping you from using them

          3. You can POP3 gnail with the regular email app too.

  11. ….because it wasn’t annoying enough on Yahoo! mail. (Said nobody ever)

    1. the yahoo mail app doesn’t have ads though

      1. Mine sure does…

        1. hmm…never seen that, don’t think i’ve ever updated it since installing it a few months ago though, and guess i shouldn’t just in case

          1. Then, by all means… Spare yourself. I’m just far too lazy to update all my apk’s manually so I set a good number of the so called “trusted” ones update automatically. This is EXACTLY what happens.

          2. i don’t have any apps auto update because of things like this. I esp. love it when video or game apps try to sneak in a ‘run at start-up’ permission after a few months, like, umm…no there’s no reason why you need that. I’d say atleast 60%+ of my apps have updates, but “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”

          3. Oh, I get that completely, which is one of the reasons I spend so much money on the apps I love to use and get a lot of milage out of. I’ve been screwed by a few rogue apps though that while they provide a great service, they either don’t offer a paid significantly more functional non ad supported version, or they’re just not worth the premium. MxPlayer for example. The only reason I could even justify spending the $5 on it is to remove the ad’s, but that’s it. So I put up with them as they’re completely non intrusive. The flipside of this is, you have a company like Google that millions have entrusted with a highly important basic function, email, and there’s no viable alternative to it. So now, we have to suck up ad’s, and I assure you it won’t be executed as MxPlayer does. It’ll be upfront and center just like Yahoo!. My point is, companies as big as Google shouldn’t have to do this, unless they’re hurting for revenu, and I seriously doubt they’re hurting that much. This is more leveraging the massive Android base for all it’s worth. While I generally feel used whenever I have to sit through and ad, now I feel borderline violated as it’s entering my personal space. This is no different from having someone pay to advertise on my car.

            As for auto updating apk’s… Again, at any given time on any given device, I could have upwards of 250+ apps installed. Some days it’s just monotonous to sit through what needs to be updated on a regular basis. I just assume that anything from certain developers, Google, Yahoo!, Titanium Track, OneLouder, etc aren’t going to screw me by sliding things into their apk’s that people wouldn’t appreciate. Oops. Let’s hope this is as bad as it gets.

      2. That’s funny as does mine..

      3. Yeah it does.

  12. i don’t use categories, and haven’t updated the app recently, wonder if i’d be affected at all?

  13. There’s no thing as free lunch

    1. I used to have an iPhone which allowed me to access my gmail account.


      1. You used to have an iphone? That sucks… I’m so sorry for you. xD

    2. I had a perfectly free lunch yesterday(someone paid for it, but it did not cost me anything)… So yes, there is…

      1. It costed you gas, transportation, energy and your best asset: your time! ;)

        1. I walked, and had to mutch energy(perfect level after walking) and it was lunch time. What else should i have used it for?


  14. I agree with ads for the Gmail app!! Only for iOS users tho!!! xD

    1. Epic win if Google kept its apps ad free on Android only and made it spammed with apps on iOS. No one would stay with Apple especially if Google were to make the ads more annoying on purpose.

      1. Right… except they’re doing this to their own users. So the inverse works as well. Now we’ll have to hear from Apple fanboys about how their phone doesn’t spam you with ads just checking the e-mail.

        1. I know. Its very sad. But ads will come to iOS too. That’s a guarantee

    2. iOS users rarely use the GMail app to check their Gmail Inboxes : they use the built-in Mail app. It’s very likely that Google is aiming at Android users.

      1. Yup and that’s unfortunate… anyway I use the Samsung email app that came with my Note 3 so I’m also free of the ads too.

      2. And that’s exactly why this is a stupid decision for Google. Why let your competition use your e-mail service ad free, but give those who bought your product the shitty ad ridden version?

        If this trend continues, I’m moving back to iOS. I’m not going to be riddled with ads on my damn cell phone.

  15. I’m not seeing the ads, but maybe it’s because I haven’t (and won’t) transitioned to the new Inbox/Social/Promo categories, and instead have stuck with the Priority inbox. Wishful thinking, I know.

  16. I haven’t been seeing ads

  17. Someone said Yahoo mail app doesn’t have ads. Yes it does.

  18. Does Adfree work with this?

    1. my Aunty Mila recently got Audi Q5 Hybrid by working parttime from a macbook… here are the findings J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

    2. my Aunty Addison got an awesome blue Mercedes M-Class ML63 AMG by working part-time online. published here J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

    3. AdAway seems to for me.

      1. yeah but i stopped using ad free cause some punk apps won’t run with that program in the system.

        1. Really??!! I’ve not seen one do that yet.

          1. There’s hundreds and thousands of apps, i recon a couple may have this restriction…

  19. on my nexus 4 in chrome browser ads have started to show at the bottom.

  20. Yahoo has been doing it exactly this way in their mail app for a while. It’s not bad, but I have purposely avoided updating gmail so far because of this.

  21. If they offer a paid version I’ll take a look. forcing ads with no option to pay is bs!

    i always tried to tell people google wasn’t all that. now you all see. no need to install gapps anymore. just give me a good ROM . If on stock freeze google apps with titanium backup.
    k9 mail kicks !

  22. I love Google, they give me the opportunity to “HIT EM UP” wherever I want. from an “advertiser” perspective. I love these guys. From a “cost per click perspective”. I hate these guys. lol. “love/hate” relationship. I am very lucky my “QUALITY SCORE” is the best or I would be pretty much dead in the water.

  23. This is crap! Is it not enough that I bought a phone from Google? Shouldn’t those of us who did so, be exempt from these ads?

    1. No. Don’t like it, don’t use it.

      1. I agree

  24. And if ads show up in chrome….. I’ll delete it since I’m running PACROM (love it so far!! For it on my nexus 7 and N4!) So I can delete just about anything!! And I will kill chrome….the stock browser is cool cause its got tabs like dolphin browser.

  25. asdf

  26. I guess it’s time to move to another e-mail app. How frustrating.

    1. right because all the other ones are so much better….

      1. For my use, the stock email app works fine.
        I wanted to use the Gmail app, but since it is a gmail app(hence no posibilty of adding any other type of account), i had to start using the stock email app.
        And guess what? No one died yet…

        1. No possibility of adding another account? and Gmail?? You do realize these contradict right?

  27. As long as the spam/ads stay in the promotional folder I am fine with it.

    1. As a company I would not be interested to have my brand placed there..
      Wonder how long they can keep it like this..

  28. I’m fine with it. Let Google make some money and then invest it back to come up with some other cool free apps!

    1. Really? Let Google make some money? I think they already make a lot of money… they can and should come up with other cool things without putting ads in everything they possibly can.

      1. what do you think they’re doing this all for? Charity? A company’s job is to make money. If people don’t like their services and think there’s too many ads, switch to some other service and maybe they’ll change their ways. But google is usually able to present ads in a not too intrusive way so people don’t usually care. IMO though, these ads look too much like forced spam mail.

  29. no. Google should stay far away from these dumb canucks and their poisonous culture of failure and idiocy.

  30. You can simply overcome the ads by switching on the airplane mode using in wifi. thats all or use lucky patcher app to get rid of this ads in application.

  31. This is exactly why I prefer over Google Mail, people often don’t realise that Google is an advertisement company before any other services or devices they might be providing, their core is selling ads.

    1. my Aunty Addison got an awesome blue Mercedes
      M-Class ML63 AMG by working part-time online. published here J­a­m­2­0­.­ℂ­o­m

  32. Once I see one single add on gmail – I will be looking for an alternative to not only the app but also the service.

  33. This is why luckypatcher was created!

  34. Time to look for an alternative to the Gmail app. Shame on you Google.

  35. Well they’re showing on desktop gmail.. but I still have Gingerbread on my device and the old G-Mail app so I don’t have to worry about ads :P

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