Google Intros Gmail image caching: Bad news to email marketers, good news to users

Google has today announced a new change to Gmail, one of its mainstream products some of us can’t do without everyday. The new change will no-longer require users to first click on  “display images below” link in the Gmail webmail client anymore as has been the case for years, but instead images will automatically be displayed in users’ messages across desktop, iOS and Android clients.

This is because instead of serving images directly from the original external host mail servers(for instance email marketers’ servers), Gmail will now serve all images through Google’s own secure proxy servers.

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Your emails safer, faster and secure

According to the Google Gmail blog, this new change means your messages are more safe and secure as your images are checked for known viruses or malware, and you’ll never have to press that pesky “display images below” link again. With this new change, your email will now be safer, faster and more beautiful than ever.

Death of Email Marketing(Almost)

For long, Email marketers have been able to target content to specific geographics and enjoyed rich tracking metrics such as when recipients opened their emails. This was possible and quiet simple since images where fetched from the email marketers email hosting servers each time you clicked  “display images below” link which sent your IP address (used to tell your location in the world) and alerted the marketers when you opened the email message.

However, now that the images are pre-fetched and stored on Google’s servers, Email marketer’s image servers will no longer be contacted by Google’s server, therefore they lose all the tracking abilities they been enjoying.

Google will know more about you

While these changes give us something to celebrate, its not without “hidden pitfalls”. This new change effectively places Google as a middleman, and thus making it a central repository for user behavior tracking. The more Google knows about its users, the better it can target Ads to consumers, thus oiling its money making machine.


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