Google has apparently begun inserting adverts into Gmail for Android, with the mobile app beginning to show promotional content similar to its desktop version, albeit limited to one sub-inbox. The adverts were spotted by Dutch site Android World, slotted in at the top of the "Promotions" inbox Google introduced as part of its categories system back in June.
Signs that advertising was headed to the Gmail Android app were spotted late last month, when chunks of code referring to how promotions would be handled in the software were caught. At the time, though, it was unclear where Google would place its adverts and how frequently they might show up.
Now, it seems like - for the moment at least - they'll be limited to the Promotions inbox, rather than spreading throughout the Gmail app.
Google has always been upfront about the fact that it mines messages for potential advertising connections and supports its free Gmail service by effectively sponsoring it. The only way to avoid seeing adverts is to pay for Google Apps service; those inboxes, which are in fact yet to see the various categories introduced, should remain free of promotions.
So far, we're yet to see Gmail adverts on any of our test devices, and the first few could well be part of an initial trial to test out the functionality. We can't entirely begrudge Google the feature, given it's effectively how we're paying for "free" email accounts, though it's only likely to enrage rivals like Microsoft (which notably ran a "Scroogled" campaign trying to sour opinion toward Gmail).
In fact, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently argued that his company is the last remaining hold-out battling a Google monopoly, though his focus was more on search than anything else. "They have this incredible, amazing, dare I say monopoly that we are the only person left on the planet trying to compete with" Ballmer commented during the company's financial analysts meeting last month.