Google’s Gmail has a new layout and with it, a new and very confusing form of advertising.  Gmail Tabs were introduced by Google earlier this year and have been designed to automatically filter your electronic mail as it arrives into a number of predefined inboxes.

The standard tabs are currently set to filter messages as ‘Priority’, ‘Updates’, ‘Social’ and ‘Promotions’, this is based on their content, who sent it and how many recipients were listed.  However, while the new feature might help you organise your mail, it’s also turning out to be a new and confusing way to sell you stuff.  A number of users have reported seeing adverts under their ‘Promotions’ tab which look very similar like highlighted emails, they even have the same subject line and description format as a genuine message.  Except when you click it, the ’email’ is, in fact, an advertisement.

gmail tabs

Is this another clever invasion of privacy? or is it a way that actually blurs the lines between advertisements and emails so you, as the user, do not even realise what you are looking at?

But in a statement sent to VentureBeat Google has said that the experimental layout is designed to be more relevant and points out that ads used to appear at the top of every inbox page, but now they are now moved to the promotions tab:  “Instead of ads always appearing at the top of your inbox, they have been relegated to a more appropriate place in your Promotions category. In addition, we’ve raised the quality of these ads and won’t show you an ad unless it’s relevant, which means you may sometimes see no ads at all in your Promotions tab. You can also dismiss the ads you see in your Promotions tab by clicking the “X” button on the right-hand side.”

[Image via: sublime-digital]