Last week, Google rolled out a bevy of updates to its Android apps, most likely in preparation for the arrival of Android 4.4 KitKat. One update in particular was apparently more than what it seemed . The Gmail app might soon be getting a probably controversial feature in the form of advertisements.

The Gmail app for Android was updated last week which introduced a more Card-centric look, bringing it in line with Google’s apparent efforts to push the card metaphor across its services and apps. However, based on an APK teardown, it seems that the update also included a feature hiding in the shadows, waiting to be activated. In the near future, Gmail users will be seeing ads in the Android app, with options not only to dismiss ads, but also to save them as an email.

It’s not all bad news, however. The Gmail app update also added something useful for users. When navigating to the Sent section of the app, users will be reminded if they have an unsent email sitting in Drafts. The email notification has also been revamped, featuring a box containing the initial of the sender in case there is no photo associated with the sender. This matches the behavior already implemented within the app itself.

It’s still unknown when Google will activate ads in the Gmail app or what form it will take. The move, while probably disappointing to a number of users, is not entirely surprising as the Gmail web interface already sports ads and it is no secret that advertisements play a major role in Google‘s income. It makes us wonder though, if Google will start putting ads in its other Android apps as well in the near future.

VIA: Android Police