Today, many websites and content creators rely on advertisements to generate revenue or even to cover their basic running costs. While there are ad blockers available, these can affect a website’s ability to turn a profit and remain operational. If you enjoy a particular website or creator’s content, you may not want to block all their adverts.
In this scenario, opting out of personalized ads can be a good compromise. This means you’ll no longer encounter targeted ads that reflect your recent search history and user profile. Instead, you’ll encounter generic ads that could be targeting anyone.
In this article, we show you how to opt out of personalized ads across Google’s services, including YouTube. I’ll also show you how to block certain kinds of advertiser content. This can make the Web a safer, more pleasant place if you find certain subjects upsetting – or even if you’re simply sick of encountering the same handful of targeted ads over and over again!
Opt out of targeted ads across Google services
You can opt out of personalized adverts across all Google services. Although you’ll still encounter ads, they will be far more generic. This can be a great compromise if Google’s targeted ads are starting to feel a little too targeted, but you also want to continue supporting your favorite content creators.
Alternatively, you can tweak the information that Google uses in its targeted advertising. This can be useful if you’re regularly encountering irrelevant or even potentially upsetting advertiser content.
You can access Google’s ad settings via your Google account:
1. Head to the My Account page.
2. If prompted, enter your Google username and password.
3. In the menu on the left, select “Data & personalization.”
4. Find the “Ad personalization” card and select its “Go to ad settings” link.
5. This will open the Ads Settings for your Google account. At this point, you have a few options.
1. Turn off personalization
If you want to completely disable personal ads, Google makes things nice and easy. Simply find the “Ad personalization” slider and push it to the “Off” position.
At this point, Google will warn you about the negative consequences of disabling ad personalization. This includes losing your ad preference settings and encountering completely irrelevant adverts.
Read the disclaimer, and if you’re happy to proceed, then click “Turn off.” You should no longer encounter personalized ads across all of Google’s services.
2. Exclude non-Google activity
By default, Google uses your data to personalize the adverts you encounter across third-party apps and websites that partner with Google. You can prevent Google from using your Google Account activity and data in these third-party ads.
It’s important to note that even after excluding non-Google activity, you may still encounter personalized ads on third-party websites and apps. However, these ads won’t be based on your Google Account activity and data.
To prevent Google from using your data in these third-party ads, click to expand the “Advanced” section.
Deselect the following checkbox: “Also use your activity and information from Google services … ” Read the disclaimer, and if you’re happy to proceed, then click “Exclude.”
3. Get greater control over your personalized ads
You may want to leave personalization enabled, but tweak the kind of personalized adverts you encounter. This can be useful if you keep seeing the same handful of irritating ads, over and over again.
There may also be a chance that Google has incorrectly identified your interests or a personal characteristic such as your age, relationship status, or location. By customizing your advertiser settings, you can help Google display more relevant ads.
You may also want to customize these settings if you’re being exposed to content that you find distressing. For example, it’s possible to block adverts related to gambling and alcohol.
To edit your advertising profile, scroll to the “How your ads are personalized” section. This section contains information that Google has gathered from your accounts, such as your age and gender. It also displays information that it’s inferred based on your browsing history, such as your parental and marital status. Finally, this list includes the topics and areas that Google believes you may be interested in.
When you find an item you want to remove from your profile, give it a click, then select “Turn off.”
This will reduce your chances of encountering adverts related to this item.
When you find an item you want to remove from your advertiser profile, give it a click and select “Turn off.” Google will no longer use this information to influence its targeted ads.
4. Disable Ad Categories on YouTube
At the time of writing, Google is trialing a feature that enables you to block adverts related to alcohol and gambling. This feature is still in beta, so it may not be available for your particular Google account.
To check whether these settings are available, scroll to the bottom of the Ad Settings page. If you encounter a “Disable Ad Categories on YouTube” section, then you have the option to disable all adverts that fall within the displayed categories.
Now you can support the websites you love without being bombarded by targeted ads. For additional privacy, you should also learn how to protect your privacy when using Google Chrome or use these Google alternatives instead.
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Follow these simple steps to prevent Google from accessing your personal accounts.
Associate Editor / How To
Dan Graziano is an associate editor for CNET. His work has appeared on BGR, Fox News, Fox Business, and Yahoo News, among other publications. When he isn’t tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos, he can be found enjoying the sights and sounds of New York City.
Google recently added new voice recognition capabilities to its Search applications on Android, iOS, and within the Chrome browser. The update includes similar features to those found in Google Now, such as the ability to track flights, search for photos you have taken, check reservations, and track recent purchases with a simple voice command.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Google revealed that it pulls the information directly from a user’s Gmail, Calendar, and Google+ accounts. Although the data is sent through an encrypted connection and only visible to you, some people may not be comfortable with Google going through their personal accounts.
Here are two ways how you can opt out of personalized results:
Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET
To temporarily disable the feature, simply click the globe icon at the top right-hand corner of the search page. This will turn off personalized results for your current search session. This method will have to be repeated, however, each time you search something new.
Screenshot by Dan Graziano/CNET
The feature can be disabled permanently in your search settings, which can be found next to the globe icon at the top right-hand corner of the screen. Click on the gear icon, select Search settings, and visit the Private results section. You should see an option to permanently disable private results, select it, and begin searching without personalized results.
Have you ever wonder, why the ads interruption while using an app is personalized or based on your interest? That’s because unconsciously you share your data with Google, who then store them in the form of an advertising ID. The advertising IDs is a unique numbers given to the data collected from your browsing habits and history.
Though personalized ads have their own advantages, yet they could feel a bit intrusive. Advertising IDs are used by Google to sell ad space to advertisers by promising that their ads will specifically target the interested audience.
Well, there is a way you can opt out of these re-targeting campaigns. Google has inducted setting into Android that will stop ad tracking. Here’s how to opt out from personalised ads on any phone:
Step 1: Opt out of Ad
To start with, jump to the setting of the phone. From the settings menu scroll down and tap on “Google”, or simply type it on the search feature at the top. Now, choose “Ads,” then enable the switch next to “Opt out of Ads Personalization.” This way your advertising ID won’t be used by apps from displaying targeted ads.
For your information, the step will only protect you from targeted ads. You still have to entertain random ads on free apps and your data is still tracked by Google.
Step 2: Reset Your advertising ID
To further strengthen your privacy wall, you can reset your advertising ID. This will delete all your data collected from your app and internet usage but, again it isn’t a permanent solution. The data will simply return to zero, then a new data will be collected using a new advertising ID.
Since Google will still track your ID even if you opt out of personalized ads, you can reset your IDs on a weekly basis to limit access to your data.
Targeted ads are nothing new, but the search engine giant is about to make them a lot more personal. Here’s how to keep your search criteria and other information out of the ad mix.
Former Senior Writer / News
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
Google might be the king of online ads, but it still gives you a way to limit how some of your data is used to sell you things you don’t need.
With its new Shared Endorsements coming on November 11, Google will make the ads you see more personalized by referencing your Google+ username, profile photo, and implied endorsements via comments and +1s.
Short of an ad-blocker, there’s not much you can do to avoid ads completely. But Google does provide a few controls for restricting how much of your online behavior shows up in ads.
The check box for opting out of Google’s Shared Endorsements. Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET
Shared endorsements To keep your username, profile pic, and implied endorsements out of the Shared Endorsements ad system, log in to your Google account and go to the Shared Endorsements settings page. Scroll to the bottom and make sure that the following box is unchecked: “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.”
Hit save to lock in the change.
It’s important to note that this does not affect the non-ad use of your endorsements, which is when Google uses a recommendation you share to promote an item — such as an MP3 in the Google Play music store — without any money changing hands for the promotion.
Before opting out of interest-based ads, you must individually delete your interests from Google’s ad settings. When you mouse over each interest, an X will appear on the right. Click to remove the interest. When all have been cleared, you can opt out of interest-based ads in Google services. Screenshot by Jeff Sparkman/CNET
Beyond shared endorsements Google also offers more specific ad settings for its users. To configure your Google Ad settings, log in to your Google account and go to the Ad Settings page.
From there, you can control what Google’s ad displays know about you. This includes your gender, age, language, interests, as well as any advertiser campaigns you’ve blocked or interest-based ads of which you’ve opted out.
To opt out of Google’s interest-based ads, you must first manually remove all of the subjects listed, then click the Opt-Out link that appears. It should then change to an Opt-In link.
To permanently opt out of Google’s DoubleClick cookie, which is Google’s main advertising cookie, you can install its DoubleClick opt-out add-on. Once installed, even if you clear all your cookies and restart your browser, it will prevent the DoubleClick cookie from being saved to your browser.
Beyond Google Google doesn’t make a big deal of it, but it provides one more link in its ad settings fine print to help manage targeted online ads. AboutAds.info is a configuration page that lets you opt out of interest-based advertising tracking cookies from companies other than Google, provided that they participate in its self-regulating program.
However, it is not a panacea. To use the consumer opt-out page, you must allow third-party cookies, because it uses a cookie to tell advertisers that you are not interested in interest-based advertising.
AboutAds.Info lets you opt out of many non-Google tracking ads, but it’s an imperfect solution. Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET
On the site, you can scroll to the bottom and click the Choose All Companies link to opt out of advertising from all companies. It should be noted that there isn’t a way to opt out yet on a per-computer or per-device basis. If you use multiple browsers, you must opt out in each browser you use.
This is one first impression that won’t stick.
By Sandra Gutierrez G. | Published Jun 26, 2022 9:00 AM
We’ve all wondered what people think of us. Do they find our jokes funny? Are our stories fascinating or insufferably pretentious? The truth is: we may never know. As a consolation prize, though, we can all find out exactly what Google thinks of us, no potentially awkward conversation required.
It’s common knowledge that the tech company monitors your browsing habits to paint a picture of who you are, then uses that portrait to show you ads you might be interested in while you search the web, watch videos on YouTube, or find your way home on Google Maps. But what’s not well-known is how easy it is for you to see that profile for yourself and opt out of some or all of the company’s data-collection process.
Decide how much you care
Google’s data collection is a double-edged sword. On one hand, personalized ads mean you won’t have to see banners and videos promoting products you find boring or useless, and would never buy. So if you’re not a parent and have no interest in having kids, you wouldn’t see ads promoting strollers and diapers, for example. On the other hand, personalized ads work as targeted campaigns dead-set on keeping you engaged and consuming as much as possible—the more you spend, the more money Google and other advertisers make.
Maybe you like the convenience of a big tech company knowing your habits, but if you’re looking to regain a little bit of privacy, take a minute to tell Google what it can and can’t know about you.
Know what Google knows about you
Start by going right into your Google account. From the website of any of the company’s services, click or tap your avatar—usually in the top right corner of your screen—and go to Manage your Google account. Once you’re there, choose Data & Privacy, scroll down, and under Ad Settings, go to Ad personalization.
By default, you’ll see the toggle switch for ad personalization is on, which means Google is using your data to refine the palette of ads you see on its services. But before you tap the switch to turn it off completely, feel free to scroll down and take a look at the categories the big G has used to describe you and how accurate they are.
The first major ones are age, gender, and language. Tap or click on any of these if you want to Update or Manage them. With the last of those three descriptors, you can add the languages you speak or turn the feature off to prevent Google from automatically adding more languages in the future based on what you read or type. With age, if you haven’t already, the platform will ask you to enter your birthday. If the company already has this information, however, there’s no way to remove it, but you can add to it.
The next categories are interests the platform thinks you have, including what type of news you’re interested in and the sports, movies, and hobbies you enjoy. Don’t expect these to be highly accurate or say a lot about you. Google can get many of these wrong, and they can be so random that they’re funny. For example, according to Google, I am a man interested in football, classical music, and combat sports. Now, as a woman who strongly believes football is soccer, can’t tell Bach from Mozart, and has no idea what MMA stands for, I find all that hilarious.
If you’d rather Google be confused about what you’re actually interested in, you might want to keep these as-is. But if you want to rectify this information, you can disable your interests completely by clicking each one and choosing Turn off. You don’t get the opportunity to edit them. If you want to turn everything off in bulk, you can scroll up and toggle off the switch next to ad personalization.
Sandra Gutierrez is the Associate DIY editor at Popular Science. She makes a living by turning those “Wait, I can make that!” moments she has while browsing the internet into fully-fledged stories—and she loves that. Contact the author here.