by Iain Wilson
Noticed anything new in your Gmail screens lately?
You should have, because Google are now showing images in emails by default rather than asking you to give permission. The desktop versions of Gmail are already doing this, and the mobile versions will rollout the feature in early 2014.
The reason that Gmail always asked for permission was that historically email images were places where viruses and malware could be hidden or information collected. So, although you could override this in your Settings, the default was to hide images until permsission was given. Most of the popular email software packages work this way.
What Google has done is a bit of pre-processing before they serve up the images to make sure the images are bona-fide.
Their proxy servers examine the images, and will transcode them if necessary before delivering, or drop them if they look suspicious.
Email marketing companies everywhere are probably rubbing their hands because it (probably) means that the images they insert into email marketing campaigns will pass muster and their statistics will be more accurate.
Of course, if you'd still prefer not to show images by default in Gmail, you can always change your Gmail settings to block the images initially.
Just go to Settings > General > Images > Ask before Showing.
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