Artem Russakovskii of Android Police dug in to version 4.6 of the Android Gmail app and found evidence that, while likely not live yet, ads are coming.
The code below suggests users will have the ability to save ads as messages and even dismiss an ad, according to Russakovskii:
<string name=”ad_will_not_save”>Will not save ad as message</string>
<string name=”ad_will_save”>Will save ad as message</string>
<string name=”ad_dismissed”>Ad dismissed</string>
This appears to be different than the current functionality offered in the desktop ads that appear as emails in the Promotions tab. Those ads can be “favorited,” but can’t be saved – or dismissed without closing the Promotions tab entirely.
It’s not all that surprising ads are coming. Ads in Gmail apps is clearly a big monetization opportunity for Google. It will be interesting to see how Google aims to overcome the mobile’s inherent challenges of limited real estate and serve ads that get advertisers noticed but don’t interfere too much with usability.