this person was able to use gmail ads to find something she couldn't find anywhere else

I happed to be logged out of Gmail the other day and noticed a link to a YouTube (natch) video titled “What’s your Gmail story?” Interested to see what angle they are taking with this, I watched the video. It is overall your typically cute and well done advert for Google.

The last story they share is of a college student that was using Gmail to communicate with classmates about a group project. She logged into Gmail and noticed an ad related to her project. The Gmail engineer says, “This person was able to use Gmail ads to find something she couldn’t find anywhere else.”

Adverts disguised as useful information are nothing new. There are creepy “special advertising sections” in print magazines. Amazon has been doing it on the web for years with their “personalized recommendations.” What is new and different about this claim from Gmail is that it actively promoting an advert as useful information. Google wants to brand its ads as research tools.

Here’s the video.

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