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If you are a Firefox user you can "hide" the text ads in Gmail. The hack is accomplished by using CSS and the Firefox configuration file named userContent.css.

This hack only hides the text ads, they are actually still there. This means that Google still scans your email messages to provide you with "contextual ads" that are based on your email text. This hack will not negate that process.

A DISCLAIMER: as mentioned at Blogoscoped, this hack may violate the Google TOS for Gmail. Use at your own risk.

The Hack

The userContent.css file is not available to edit without first installing an extension named ChromeEdit (at least it wasn't in my installation of Firefox). This extension will add the file and also simplify the process of modifying other Firefox configuration files. After installing this extension, you will need to restart your browser before preceding to the next step.

After restarting your browser -- click the Firefox Tools menu, then the menu item Edit User Files....

A new dialog window will appear with five tabs, click on the tab labeled userContent.css.

Copy and paste the following CSS code into the userContent.css file, then click the Save button.

#rh table[class=”metatable”]{display: none !important;}
#rh div[class=”c”] {display: none !important;}


It is important to note that this is based on the current styling rules in Gmail. This hack may need to be changed in the future if Google changes the Gmail interface which will break the code.

Very special thanks to Digital Media Minute for this hack.

UPDATE: Raghu pointed out to me that ChromeEdit is not really needed to effect the changes necessary to the userContent.css file. This file can be created and saved to your profile folder.

The userContent.css file is not available by default (which I have found out), but if you have customized the appearance of web pages in Firefox, then it should be there in your profile folder already.

More information at http://texturizer.net/firefox/edit.html.
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