Web users can now adjust their Google account settings to limit or prevent organizations from serving personalized advertisements, according to an announcement published on Google’s blog.
Google’s announcement marks another step in the evolution of AdSettings, which was launched in 2009 to offer users a central resource to manage how they view ads served by Google.
In the new AdSettings users can determine the categories of ads they’ll be exposed to across Google’s platforms and through its display network. Users can also remove categories they no longer wish to see advertisements from e.g. “travel”, “finance”, “coupons” etc.
Google states the feature will only work if the user remains signed into their Google account and has no impact on the number of contextual ads a user will be exposed to.
Google relies on a number of signals, including a user’s search and browsing history, to determine which ads a user will see. Under Google MyAccount, users can control the extent to which Google retains their search and browsing histories across its platforms.
The most important new feature announced by Google is the option for users to switch of all personalized advertising. The new setting is available in AdSettings and will apply to platforms like YouTube and Google search as well as websites in its display network.
Google has also announced an update to its “why this ad?” feature, which appears above its ads and gives user an indication on the factors behind why an ad is displayed e.g. it could be based on a previous search, visiting a website or past interactions with similar advertisements.
While “why this ad?” was previously limited in its visibility, it will now be available to view across all of Google’s platforms, including Google Play, Gmail, Maps and Search, as well as most of the websites and apps that partner with Google to show ads.