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November 24, 2010

Gmail's Web Clips, Now With More Ads

I've never been a fan of Gmail's Web Clips, but I didn't disable this feature because it helped me keep up with news from popular sites without subscribing to them in Google Reader. The most annoying thing about Web Clips is that it mixes news headlines with contextual ads, but that still didn't make me disable this feature.

Gmail has recently started to only show ads in the Web Clips box if you don't click on the navigation arrows. If you only read your messages and don't interact with the Web Clips box, Gmail no longer shows headlines. Some of the ads are useful, but showing ads was just a way to monetize the box, not the main purpose of this feature.

Gmail's help center article explains that "Web Clips show you news headlines, blog posts, RSS and Atom feeds, and relevant sponsored links, right at the top of your inbox. Each clip displays the source from which it was received, how long ago the clip was published, and a link to access the entire story or page containing the clip. From your inbox, you can scroll through clips you've already seen by clicking the left arrow or see new clips by clicking the right arrow."

You can disable Web Clips from the settings page, but it's too bad that the feature is a lot less useful.


  1. Never understood the need for webclips. Even before I disabled them I never really looked at them.

  2. I seem to be having this experience a lot recently, myself. E.g., "- - Former Federal Appellate Clerk Will Perform Your Legal Research Project." I'm amused that mine seem to lack the web site links (maybe it's because of AdBlock or my hosts file).

    How did you learn about the issue? I definitely think I'll disable it if this is a new, official policy.

  3. I had hopes for Web Clips. I'm not big on RSS, as I like going to sites, but decided to add some Google blogs RSS to Gmail's Web Clip; however, most of the content there is adverts.

    I pointed out the problem using Google Feedback, and made a suggestion, like adding a visual cue when a feed is updated, but nothing has come of it, either people don't mind it or just don't use Web Clips -- I think it's the latter.

  4. @jasonvaritekfan.

    Would you please post a link to your suggestion? I'll star it, add my +1, or etc.


  5. @Cougar Abogado: I wish there was a way to submit Gmail feedback like in Chrome, where other users can comment and rate feedback, but the feedback I gave Google was via the Report a bug link in Gmail.

  6. do people actually read the article before clicking on "Like" on Google Reader? 14 people like this. So it's good to have more ads?

    ... whatta heck :P

  7. @jasonvaritekfan.

    I hear ya, thanks.


    I'm under the impression that you feel "liking" a post means people like the results it discusses?

    I imagine a lot of people "like" certain posts because they find them informative.

    For example, I'm pretty put off by the results Alex discussed in this post. On the other hand, I "like" that he brought the fact to my attention.

  8. How do we disable the ad in the upper right hand corner on this website? No one should be able to make money off of the internet, right? That's why they invented "Mother's Basement."

  9. That's what I find so funny. This website survives by running Google Ads, yet denounces ads in Gmail, which is a very good free service.

    Instead why don't you advocate a subscription-based Gmail where you would pay $50-$100 a year for an ad-free version of Gmail?

    Google is a technology company supported by advertising. The products you are using are not created for nothing. Google has to pay all the overhead. They are a great company because not only are they in it to make money for the shareholders, but they are also in it to push the limits of technology, while employing a lot of happy people.

    These small ads don't bother me in any way whatsoever.


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