New Gmail layout serves ads as e-mails

Lately, Google has been rolling out a tabbed version of its Gmail service that segregates promotional e-mails, personal messages, and social media updates. The change can make it easier to sift through e-mail—but it comes with an unexpected twist.

As CNet News reports, the revamped layout inserts Google ads as e-mails under the "Promotions" tab. This seems to be the first time the company has displayed ads amid users' messages. Gmail has been ad-driven since its inception, but its ads have always shown up in clearly demarcated sections, either above the inbox or to the right of messages.

According to Google, the e-mail ads replace the demarcated ad strip above the user's inbox. "Instead of ads always appearing at the top of your inbox, they've been relegated to a more appropriate place in your Promotions tab to create a better overall experience," the company says. CNet News says Google claims the new ads are "more relevant," as well.

Happily, users can disable the Promotions tab or revert to the old, tab-free inbox if they so choose. I'm a fan of the Priority Inbox layout, so I think I'll be sticking with that until Google phases it out (if it ever does). I have no problem with ads—their existence makes a lot of free online content and services possible—but I'd rather not have them interspersed with my e-mail.

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