Gmail Now Displays Images Automatically
Gmail and other major email providers have till now followed the practice of blocking images by default and not loading them unless user specifically asks for it.
The main reason for this was that images must be loaded from a third-party server usually belonging to the advertiser that sent you the mail however, now Gmail will serve all images through their own proxy servers.
So what does this image caching do,let us first look at what Google says about it:
” Instead of serving images directly from their original external host servers, Gmail will now serve all images through Google’s own secure proxy servers.
So what does this mean for you? Simple: your messages are more safe and secure, 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.”
The post by John Rae-Grant further adds:
“Similar to existing features like default https access, suspicious activity detection, and free two-step verification, image proxying is another way your email is protected. This new improvement will be rolling out on desktop starting today and to your Gmail mobile apps in early 2014.”
So far so good but, there is more to it than meets the eye,yes this provides increased security from Viruses and malware and yes it will hide your IP address, browser version and other details however, there is a catch now that Gmail is no longer hiding these images it will be easier for advertisers to figure out whether an email has been opened.
Here is what Mail Chimp has to say about the issue:
“Image caching still lowers our ability to track repeat opens, but turning those images on means we’ll be more accurate when tracking unique opens. At least, theoretically it should work that way.
By leaving images turned off, Gmail has been allowing subscribers to open emails without downloading our tracking pixel, so those opens were invisible to us. If Gmail is going to display images automatically, those previously invisible opens should suddenly become visible.”
However, if you are not convinced you can read about how to change the default settings here: Choose whether to show images