You Can Now Control What Data Google Shares About You
The search giant’s latest upgrade gives you the power to block those annoying advertisements that follow you everywhere you click.
It’s totally happened to you: You’ve looked at a purse online, put it in your cart, but decided not to buy. And then, magically, an ad for that purse starts following you everywhere: It’s a banner on your favorite website, it’s at the top of your e-mail, it's even an ad that appears on your news feed, even though you totally didn't even use your phone to shop in the first place! Though it could have been a helpful reminder a couple of weeks ago, you’ve already bought another purse offline—and at half price (score!) But here's good news: Thanks to a new update from Google, these annoying incidents just might become a thing of the past.
Today, the tech giant announced new ad settings features in a blog post. The features are designed to give users’ more control over what data they share, as well as which ads they see. First up is “Mute Reminders,” which allows you to turn off those stalker-ish ads (that’s what Google calls them “reminders”). You’ll also now be able to control those ads from popping up on other apps and websites that use the mega-search engine’s ad tracker network, too—according to private-search competitor DuckDuckGo, this applies to 76 percent of the internet!
You probably have also used their “Mute This Ad” feature when you’ve been stuck with a weird or oddly uncomfortable ad on an otherwise straightforward website. According to Google, five billion people told them something was up with an ad last year. The company ended up taking down one million ads in total. And now the popular feature is getting an update, too: If you’ve told Google to mute an ad when you’re signed into your Gmail account on your computer, it won’t suddenly pop up again on your phone, work computer, or wherever else you online shop (we won’t tell!). Also, you’ll be able to mute more ads overtime on more apps and sites using Google's ad network.
The tech company is also making it easier to know what exact data is being collected and shared in your account. Just check your Google Dashboard to see what data has been stashed—the app just got a redesign, so you’ll be able to easily access it from your phone, too.