When we dug into the updated Gmail app in the APK Teardown a few days ago, there was clear evidence of a system for displaying ads in the Promotions folder much like desktop Gmail. It didn't take Google long to start implementing them either – the first users are seeing ads right now.

Screenshot_2013-10-04-08-53-50 gmail-screen-ads-blur_big

These ads look like email messages, but the color is different and there is a badge marking it as an ad. Ads in the desktop Promotions folder look almost exactly the same. The APK Teardown also revealed a way to save or dismiss ads, but it's not clear if that is being used yet. If it is, we haven't seen a screenshot of it in action yet.

Keep in mind that these ads should only appear at the top of the Promotions folder in Gmail. If you don't use that folder, the ads should never invade your eyes.

[Android World (Dutch) – Thanks, Ruud and rmkilc]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • challenge_accepted

    I don't use the promotional tab. I don't use any of the tabs. Thanks for not putting ads in my inbox Google.

    • http://jordanhotmann.com/ Jordan Hotmann

      Same. I'm still on the 'old' layout with my own custom filters and labels.

      • Chris

        I'm also in the old lay out on my Note 2. My wife's S4 has the new lay out and it's awful. Is there any way to ensure I don't move to the new layout?

        • Anu6is

          This is completely under your control. Using the mobile app or a PC if you deselect all categories it reverts to the old format.

          • Chris

            Awesome thank you! Where do I deselect categories?

          • http://www.geordienorman.com/ George Byers

            Click the settings gear on gmail from the desktop, then click "configure inbox", then de-select these and it should revert back to normal.

          • Chris

            Thank you so much!

          • Lalo

            Yeah its actually surprisingly intuitive

      • fixxmyhead

        How do u delete the promotions folder?

        • Anu6is

          Removing promotions folder won't stop you from receiving the emails, they will instead appear in your inbox. It's probably best to leave it and ignore it.

          • ltredbeard

            Can this be confirmed by anyone?

        • Joseph Cascio

          On Gmail for desktop (via browser) click the little gear icon, then click Configure inbox. Uncheck tabs you don't want.

          Or go to inbox catagories in the settings of the Gmail app.

    • Aman Yajurvedi

      I like them, it works well. All newsletters and offers go to promotions and my inbox remains clean.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii



  • Dany Bouffard

    I dont like ads in general, but when its not done correctly I can tolerate it, its handled correctly in google case in gmail so I dont mind them too much.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      When it's not done correctly, you can tolerate it?

      • Andres Schmois

        My guess is there's a period or comma missing somewhere.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          I tried every permutation but still couldn't come up with the right one. My bet is on the "it's done."

          • mechapathy

            *phone rings*
            *picks up*
            "It's done."

            Well that was fucking weird...

  • miri

    So the rumors hold true: they're just in the promotions tab which makes perfect sense since it's pretty much all ads anyway be they emailed directly or otherwise. I can live with it.

  • Comeback

    why would anyone use these additional tabs anyway? from the moment they added them i found them useless and spammy.

    • CoreRooted

      I find the social and update tabs helpful for all my Ingress stuff. Otherwise, yeah, I have to agree with you.

    • Adam Truelove

      Because they're really nice.

    • miri

      Because they keep my inbox neatly organized with no effort on my part.

      • x3go

        you can achieve the same using filters without a real effort.

        • Adam Truelove

          Perhaps you misunderstand the differences between no effort and some effort and the pros and cons of each.

          • x3go

            I didn't say it's bad.

            You have a point there.
            I only think that it is always best to have control of stuff: rules filters and labels so you can set them once(!) with the tiniest effort with comprehensive rules (using wildcards) instead of getting them as is from google.

          • Adam Truelove

            They didn't remove the labels. You can still use them.

            In fact you can choose to use or not use both the new tabs and the labels that have always been available. Isn't choice great?

          • Guest

            How are you at -9 downvotes?

        • Magneira

          After some time using it you grow to like it, now only really important massages go to my inbox, and the starred ones, the rest, like social, updates, promototions, and the email with the response from this comments, go the dedicated section. Use it for a while berfore saying its bad.

      • J3R3MY_H

        I find it takes more effort since you now have to check 3-5 different folders to actually check your mail. With the old layout, I can skim everything all in one place. How do you know Google didn't misfile something without checking?

        • puch0021

          Go into Gmail settings, chose your account, inbox categories: then select the tabs you want. Unchecked them all if you want the old inbox.

          Its nice to have it both ways.

          • J3R3MY_H

            Sorry if I insinuated I am still using the new layout. I switched back to the old layout long ago.

        • miri

          But If I'm looking for an email from a social network, I don't have to search through all 5 tabs or every single email I've ever received in the history of forever, I just have to look through the social tab. If something's improperly categorized, I still get notified about it by some means, I can drag it to the proper tab and all future emails will go there.

          • J3R3MY_H

            Gmail has a really great search feature. You should never have to skim through all your old email to find something whether you use tabs or not.

            worst case scenario; I can just search for "facebook" or whatever social network the email pertains to and skim till I find it which is still better than skimming through all my social networks' email.

          • miri

            It depends. If that works for you then good for you.

          • J3R3MY_H

            I'm curious, depends on what?

    • Anu6is

      I fail to see how this is "spammy" when you receive the exact same emails you would have without this feature. If anything, it helps you ignore spam (updates & promotions)

  • NoMoreNeverMore

    Ok, so if one would delete Promotions tab under Web based Gmail, what would happen to Promotiosn tab in mobile Gmail, and if it also disapears, where would Gads go?

    • challenge_accepted

      No ads.

    • NoMoreNeverMore

      Aha, I forgot that there is also in mobile Gmail option to disable Promotions tab. Ok, if somebody who has updated Gmail, and has already received GAd, could try what happens when Promotions tab is disabled, it would be appreciated :)

    • mechapathy

      Electronic Google Ads. EGADS!

  • a

    Put in just the right spot for people to accidentally tap them. Greeeeaaaaat.

    • miri

      Ugh... You should see how Yahoo does it. An ad slides in from the top after a couple seconds (just about the time it takes to skim the subject and reach for it) and pushes the first message down so you accidentally tap the ad EVERY SINGLE TIME.

      • jonathan3579

        Yep, i noticed the same thing.

      • Luís Fernando

        I noticed the same thing on Youtube search results, when a half of a second before you click the first or second video a wild promoted video appears and you start watching some Honda commercial instead of the completly unrelated thing you searched for.

        • miri

          Never seen that before. The ad appears instantaneously for me and it's always relevant.

  • Sqube

    I'm okay with this.

  • brkshr

    Root + AdAway = FU ADS

    • brkshr

      Why all the haters on blocking ads? Just wondering...

      Edit: BTW, I always pay for licensed/paid apps when available. I don't care if it's Rovio or some unknown dev with only 1,000 installs. I'll gladly pay for an ad free version. If a dev doesn't want to offer a paid version, then that sucks for them. I don't like ads ruining my experience and half the time making my phone/data connection slower.

      • brkshr

        The future is near...

      • Kenton Douglas

        How much would you pay for an ad-free Google app, or suite of Apps?

        • brkshr

          That's a good question. I will answer you when I get to a computer tomorrow.


          (Yelling at disqus here, not you Kenton)

        • hp420

          not one red cent while adaway still achieves it for free

          • Kenton Douglas

            So how do they maintain their business with your sense of entitlement? Not sure how that works. It's got to be paid for somehow, or do you think they can maintain a service by 'magic'?

          • Rovex

            What difference does it make if i don't ever, EVER click on the ads (which i don't)? All the ads do is uglky up the interface, so i block them, simple. To me its no different to changing a theme or the launcher.

          • Common Sense Guy

            they maintain their business because stupid people don't know how to prevent ads.

        • b9876

          You are already paying for Google apps - you pay for the phone when you buy it, then the manufacturer pays for the right to include it. Proprietary Google apps are not free and never were.

          • Kenton Douglas

            A small one-off fee doesn't cover the ongoing cost of the service. The key word being "service". Because an OEM might pay Google (say $5-10) per device to initially include the suite, doesn't cover ongoing updates cloud storage, etc, etc. You can't compare web services to the desktop computing model. There you would buy each new version of windows, office etc as required. Here you're suggesting a one time payment incorporated into the cost of the device should entitle you to support on that service/app forever? This is the reason the paid app economy has collapsed - it doesn't work. People don't want to pay. In fact the only model that now works is ads (and possibly in-app purchases for games in particular).

          • RTWright

            I disagree... I do want to pay for apps that are of GOOD quality and not the 90% crappolla that exists on Play Store. There is so much crap on it, that I wouldn't pay for none of them. Same with ads, I pay a monthly fee to use this phone, I paid to get the phone, I do not want ads on every single stupid thing you have on the phone. The other thing is that everyone seems to forget? Those ads are already PAID for by the people paying Google to run them. They're not cheap, they pay a lot. So.... Google is making money rather we CLICK on them or NOT! People today that don't want to pay for quality need to just not buy into any sort of technology and go back to flip-phones.

            These are computers, mini-handheld computers. Software ( Which we call Apps ) has to be developed by someone. If the Developers are constantly working to improve said software and are not trying to gouge you ( Doing excessively high pricing ), then I have no problems paying for quality. However, I also think all of the Developers need to have an Ad/Free based demo that has a time limited use on them so that people can try them out for more than the stupid 15 minutes Google gives us. This way when you are thinking about getting a certain app, you can try it and see if you wish to unlock all of it's features for a reasonable fee.

            To say no one wants to pay is to act like you know every single person in the world. Those that cry for FREE on everything are ones that do not do anything remotely close to what Devs do to make these apps. Some of them spend every waking moment perfecting these things and yet you feel they should all be for FREE? What if your boss where you worked said, you're working for FREE now? I bet you'd think twice about staying with said boss/company. Legitimate Devs deserve to earn a living off of the work they do... End of story!

          • Kenton Douglas

            I can't see how you disagree - you've backed up everything I said! LOL. The facts are there though. Most developers have dropped paid versions because people don't want to pay. I like you have no problem with paying, but most people want free apps without advertising. The only point I was making was that it has to be one or the other, otherwise the developers you mention will be working for free - which isn't right. It's also the reason the app stores are full of junk. A lot of "developers" are hobbyist to me, while the best developers are occupied elsewhere because -again - people don't want to pay. The saddest part is that we're talking relatively small amounts of money per app ($1-5) in most cases.

  • Rovex

    By 'Ads' you mean 'Spam', because thats all they are.

    • Layman76

      Not like Google has a business to run or anything

      • Rovex

        It seems to be doing fine already.

        If you would like to clarify the difference between an unwanted email and an unwanted ad that looks like an email, please go ahead.

  • Dheeraj

    The good thing about Gmail's tabs is, the mail you see in each one is customizable, so I've disabled the promotions tab and use the "Updates" tab to see that mail instead. :)

  • Telefunken

    How is this different from the Spam folder?

    • Cherokee4Life

      lol you win. I just died laughing

  • GuestOne

    If you use gmail through a 3rd party app, like K-9, will there eventually be ads? Or is this specifically done through the Gmail app itself?

    • http://www.geordienorman.com/ George Byers

      you cannot push ads through imap, unless they sent them as an actual email.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    I actually rolled back to the previous version of GMail not for the ads but because those stupid tiles were driving me nuts.

    • miri

      They can be disabled. Go to settings and switch your inbox style to Primary.

  • flosserelli

    Glad I didn't update my gmail app...but I know I am only putting off the inevitable.

    • Anu6is

      You do know that this is optional right. Even after updating you can stick to the old style...

      • flosserelli

        I wasn't referring to the display style. I don't want unsolicited ads spamming my Promotions folder.

  • RitishOemraw

    Glad I don;t use that inbox style then :D

  • mechapathy

    Considering that the Promotions folder is kinda like spam that I only occasionally want to see, this doesn't bother me.

  • Andy Williams

    Welp. Back to stock email app for me. I don't understand the redundancy with it anyways. Same with the calendar-- basically exact same app as the branded one. I'm just checking email & making appointments

  • Someone on the internet

    Just get an ad blocker and there is nothing to worry about.

  • MarthaJernigan

    My friend's sister makes $75/hr on the internet. She has been unemployed
    Used for nine months but previous month her wages was $17143 right working on the
    Internet used for a hardly any hours. Why not try now, BIG44.­c­o­m

  • abobobilly

    The downfall of Gmail App has begun :

  • Fj0mpen

    What's next? Advertisements for "Penis enlargement pills approved by Google"? >.<

    I'll continue using K9 Mail anyway.. :P

    • flosserelli

      If they are like other Google ads, they will be based on your browsing history, so...

  • Primalxconvoy

    Another option is to use an alternate app, such as Aqua Mail, K9 or Gmail Plus:

    - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kknet.mail

  • Duncan

    The second I receive a google ad e-mail into my mailbox I will disable my gmail account.

  • thijsoost

    Haha, that's my screenshot (Androidworld)

  • hp420

    as predicted, adaway works like a charm! all hail root!!!

  • Lu Bre

    Am I the only one who can't choose other accounts in the FROM field? That happens when I reply or write a new message. I can use the default @gmail main account only. If that's official, this version made Gmail for Android totally useless for me.

  • SeppWinkler

    Please, is there any way to treat this adds with custom filter like other mails. I mean, if I can set up filter, that will delete them immediately? For example I can set up custom filter that can delete immediately mail from abc@ abc.com. It would be useful. Thank you.

  • Timmy Johnson

    I can't explain how much this infuriates me. IT'S EMAIL!!!! There should NOT be ads! I just checked my email from my computer, and under the promotions tab, there was an "email" that looked a little different than the rest. It was an ad... I'm very unhappy.