Not only am I inundated with ads in Gmail, but they seem to be reading my mind.
Is there any way to turn this off or otherwise change this "tracking"?
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The Firefox extension AdBlock Plus removes them just fine, although the equivalent in Chrome does not.
Regarding what you call "tracking", that is just software finding keywords in your emails and displaying appropriate ads. Obviously no personal information is given to advertisers and no-one is reading your emails.
An application called Rapportive effectively replaces the ads on the right side with something more useful. (User notes on the contact's email) Not certain of the legalities of this. Also not sure if it is THIS app which is effectively hiding the ads or some setting or feature I have enabled, but this is worth looking at anyway.
Well, one work around I've seen is the "magic words" from Boing Boing. Basically adding catastrophic words such as "murder" "suicide" in the email body and Google won't show "related ads." Of course this work around isn't the most practical.
If you are using Firefox, you can use Adblock Plus addon to eliminate those ads.