Another reason to hate Gmail’s new tabs -- unavoidable adverts in your inbox

Yesterday my colleague Mark Wilson wrote a scathing article on Gmail’s new tabs feature. In it he complained about the total lack of customization options, the wonky sorting, and most damning of all -- the way it’s no longer possible to tell at a glance exactly how many new messages you have.

This morning, in checking my email -- with the tabs active -- I found another reason to hate the latest addition to the webmail service, and it’s likely the reason that Google even introduced tabs in the first place -- advertising messages in your inbox.

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Filed away in the Promotions tab I discovered a new "email" advertising the Nexus 4. In the sidebar on the right, headed "What's this?", Google explains, "It's a new type of ad which you can forward to a friend, or star to save it to your inbox. If you dismiss this ad, you won't see it again".

There’s a Dismiss button right above the message. So it’s easy to get rid of the promotion, but only once you’ve opened it -- there’s no checkbox next to it like there is next to other messages. So this new type of ad is something you’re forced to interact with.

In returning to the Promotions tab to take a screenshot, I see I have two more of the new type of advert in there -- one from Vistaprint and the other from Godaddy. Refreshing again and those have been replaced by ads for Namecheap and Lumosity. It seems, at the moment at least, the maximum number of ads is limited to two.

I use Outlook.com for all my personal email but I still log into Google Apps for work, and I wanted to give the new tabs a proper try. But now that I’ve discovered the real reason for those tabs in the first place, it’s time to turn them off.

If you feel the same, you can disable the feature by going into Settings, selecting Inbox and picking a different inbox type in the drop down. You can of course just disable the Promotions tab if you want to keep the new feature but avoid seeing the adverts.

Photo Credit: PhotostockAR/Shutterstock

19 Responses to Another reason to hate Gmail’s new tabs -- unavoidable adverts in your inbox

  1. ilev says:

    You can't disable and revert completely to the old Gmail Inbox after moving to the new Tabs. The Primary tab will stay.

    • testman says:

      Wrong. Turn all tabs off (apart from Primary tabs which you can't remove) and it'll remove the feature completely.

      • Taomyn says:

        Nope, that doesn't do it. As the article says "Settings, selecting Inbox and picking a different inbox type in the drop down" and you can flush this horrible idea away.

  2. HornyToad says:

    Or you can install a regulat email client such as Thunderbird, add the Adblock Plus extension, and be rid of those ads for good. First thing I do when I install a browser or an email client is set it up so that ads are invisible. If websites relying on ads to survive did a better job at making those ads less intrusive, I wouldn't install adblocking capabilities at all, but things (and human greed) being what they are...

  3. lokiisyourmaster says:

    I've just disabled all the tabs, and everything is back to the way it was. If you don't like some feature - don't use it. What's this epic cry every time?! Some service changes some minor feature, and bang! Several articles in betanews "I'm boycotting X", "Good bye X", "X is doomed"... Like it's a big deal. Don't get it, really :)

  4. Rundtomkringlending says:

    Unavoidable ? I never use the webmail for gmail...i use Thunderbird on my PC, and the Android GMail client on my tablet and phone. I see no ads = Avoidable.

    Learn to use IMAP :)

  5. view2share says:

    I don't seem to have tabs. Actually, have no ads at all :)

  6. Zoyx says:

    Your title says unavoidable, but in the article you discuss how easy it is to turn these ads off. " You can of course just disable the Promotions tab if you want to keep the new feature but avoid seeing the adverts."

  7. Smokes_Quantity says:

    The ads you're complaining about have nothing to do with the new Inbox. They're actually part of a product that's been around for a while called Gmail Sponsored Promotions. The ad format recently received enhancement features that predate the new Inbox design. I've personally seen them in my Gmail for the last two months
    http://googlesystem.blogspot.in/2013/04/gmails-sponsored-promotions.html

  8. marvin nubwaxer says:

    i am so out of it that i have never used browser tabs and have never found a reason that tells me why i should. as long as you can disable them for gmail it's ok, but i hate it when geeks have to geek things up just because geeks like new interfaces regardless of what non geeks want.
    nobody asked me if i wanted the new shrunk down reply box that replaced the much better reply area that preceded it.

    • Nevermore says:

      Just so you know, you can change that revert back to the "normal" reply box. It is an option at the bottom of the tiny shrunk box, just play with it.

  9. James Smith says:

    If you use anything Google, you deserve what you get. When the "service" is free, the product is you.

    • Xuanlong says:

      Wrong. If not for users of 'free' services like Search and Gmail viewing and clicking on ads, Google wouldn't even be able to afford to keep the lights on, much less make the billions that they do. Just because they aren't forking over green paper with numbers on it doesn't mean that users aren't paying for a service, because that user base is exactly what allows Google to make big bucks. Forcing more frequent or more bothersome ads is basically a price increase, and users have just as much right to complain about it as they do when the price of any other good or service goes up. This idea that somehow if you're not paying directly for something that you have no rights is nothing but a sign of poor understanding of online business in general.

      • James Smith says:

        You make excellent points and what you say is true.

        I think I did not make myself clear. Google and other "free" sites collect as much information about users as possible then sell that information to anyone that asks. That's how advertisers create targeted ads because they have your information, including your IP address as well as anything else that has been collected.

        Thank you for your excellent addition to this thread.

  10. disqus_B1VwXSgM1Z says:

    HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT - I used to have my email sorted into PRIORITY!!! and STARRED and anything else dropped to the bottom - SO WHAT WAS IMPORTANT AND NEEDED TO BE KEPT AT THE TOP OF THE LIST WAS AT THE TOP!!!!!! They TOTALY SCREWED IT UP and I'm wondering what other email I can use! this is business fellows - NOT JUST SOCIAL email!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Kevin says:

    To get rid of the new changes to your Gmail..

    click on the Gearwheel (top right)
    Select 'Configure Inbox'
    Untick Social, Promotions, Updates, Forums
    Press Save

    ...and your gmail is back the way it was before the update

    • Elvis Donofrio says:

      Brilliant!! Thank you Kevin. As much as it is annoying that internet companies continue to make weekly ominously useless changes to their sites/apps/platforms because someone is trying to justify their VP job or entire department, the bottom line is most of the time, their is a way to configure the options back to the way it was.

  12. CATTY&Co. Spokeskitten says:

    It looked like it would be good, but seeing an email arrive on the notifier sidebar app, going into the inbox and not seeing any emails, then realising it's in the promotions tab, and then having to click across to the promotions tab to delete it... madness when you can just set basically the same filters up to auto-archive stuff.

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