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Google’s Email Encryption And Implications on Online Ad Business

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By Kalyan Kumar | July 3, 2014 11:02 AM EST

Google's move to introduce end-to-end encryptions for e-mails has raised concerns about the future of Google online ads and other online enterprises.  

For Google, mining personal data to deliver targeted ads is a core business. Currently, the questions are out how the business will go on when the very data dries up at the source level.

Cloaking Technology

Google's early version of a new tool to provide full "end-to-end" encryption for email is out. The strong technology will seek to scramble messages before they leave their browser and keep them in that form until it is decoded by the recipient. A private keystring to which the user has access will help the email provider to read the contents of the messages. Google assures that anyone can use the tool with a Web-based email service.

Conflict of Interest

Industry experts wonder that the Google tool will be in direct conflict with its own business model. But Google justifies the tool saying it is intended for a subset of users who will need additional security. This sort of encryption will be used only for sensitive messages. A polished version of the encryption will come up for download from Google's Chrome Web stores.

Big Step in Privacy

Despite the concerns about online ad revenue, the encryption move has been welcomed as a big step by all advocates of privacy. The use of encryption will diminish the ability of online firms to sell targeted ads. Google already scans all emails to deliver keyword-based advertising and blocks spam and malware. End-to-end encryption is also good for service providers like Google to share users' data on any compelling situations.

Online Monetisation to Hit

When encryption is adopted, a significant percentage of online firms will be hit as monetization of their services. One fall out could be the change in business models. Service providers may start charging for services which are currently free or there can be a charge for encryption.

No Contextual Ads

With Google's new tool, the opportunity to generate contextual ads will end. But online firms are taking the comfort that it may take some more time before Google starts this. As of now, it is at the source code level only. 

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