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Scrutiny of code shows ads may soon arrive on Gmail for Android

Google regularly updates its Gmail apps with new features, but the web giant is planning one addition you might not be too excited about — advertisements.

The folks over at Android Police dug into the code of the latest version of Gmail for Android, which began rolling out last week, and found several clues that ads are afoot. Up until now, ads have been limited to the desktop version of Gmail.

"I'm not sure exactly what kind of ads we're going to get here — whether it'll be just the ones that look like emails or more generic ones — but here are multiple references to ads that I've found during the teardown," wrote Android Police blogger and software engineer Artem Russakovskii. The code, for instance, appears to suggest that users will be able to save ads as messages.

"Like an ad? Save it, and it'll become part of your inbox," he explained. "Don't like it, and it'll get dismissed."

Google has not made any announcements about displaying ads in its Gmail mobile apps, but the move wouldn't be too shocking. As Russakovskii pointed out, the Gmail for Android install base totals between 500 million and a billion, so it's no wonder Google is looking to monetise the app.

Google declined to comment when asked about the report.

"We're always experimenting with new features, but have nothing new to share at this time," the company said when questioned.

Meanwhile, in terms of new features, the latest version of Gmail for Android boasts a refreshed conversation view design and improvements to the multiple message selection tool.