Security

How to turn off ad personalization in your Google account

Don't want to deal with targeted ads? Here's how to limit your shared personal data in Google.

Google is increasing transparency by giving users more control over customized ads, product manager Philippe de Lurand Pierre-Paul said in a blog post Thursday.

For the past decade, Google has made strides to be more transparent in how personal data is used to tailor ads. In 2009, Google released Ad Settings, giving users a defined location to control ads. The settings evolved in 2011 and 2012 with the additions of Why this ad? And Mute this ad, the post noted. In 2015, all of these features were housed together within your Google account, creating a single point of access for security setting and personal information.

With Google's new Ad Settings, you can now understand how your personal information is used in the ads you see. Additionally, Google is expanding the Why this ad? function to all services—including Search and Youtube—and nearly all sites and apps that allow Google to show ads, the post noted.

If you aren't comfortable with Google having your personal data and tailoring your ads, here is how to monitor and control your shared information.

1. Accessing your settings

Start at the Google homepage and toggle to the top right of the screen. Locate and click on your initial enclosed in a circle (Figure A). Once your initial is selected, click My Account.

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(Figure A)

On the My Account page, select Ad Settings (Figure B).

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(Figure B)

Once you are in your Ad Settings, click Manage Ad Settings. From there, you can choose whether you want ad personalization on or off. You can also view the personal details Google has about you, and choose whether or not to allow Google to customize ads based on each characteristic (Figure C).

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(Figure C)

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(Figure C)

For example, based on my search history, Google determined I am interested in Urban Transport. If I don't want that interest to be shared with Google, I can choose to turn it off. There you have it, no more ads about Urban Transport.

This function is great if business professionals are searching things for work that don't necessarily reflect their interests, and then those searches are reflected in the type of ads displayed. Users can choose to either disable the function completely, or pick and choose which subjects are taken into account.

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About Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.

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