At the Google I/O Developer Conference, the company unveiled a new tool later this year that will give users more control over how their ads are personalized across Google apps and sites, including Google Search, YouTube, and discover feed in the Google app.
From a new three-dot menu that will appear on all ads across sites, users will be able to interact with ads in multiple ways. They will be able to like or share it, block or report it, see who paid for it and find out why it was targeted.
And if users don’t want to see these kinds of ads, they can use the built-in tools from this menu or visit the new My Ad Center to tell Google their preferences. To get to the hub, users simply need to click on the menu item that says “customize more of the ads you see” to navigate to the new experience.
In the new My Ad Center, users will be able to learn more about how ads are personalized and gain control over how their data is used, Google says. This is specifically for ads that appear on Google-owned and operated sites such as Search, YouTube, and Discover, but does not apply to the Google Display Network.
From the home screen of the hub, users will be able to turn ads of different categories on and off by pressing the plus and minus buttons in different categories such as fitness, vacation rentals, skincare, and many more. For example, if you want to see fewer beauty ads, you can simply click to remove them from your collection.
You can also view a screen of brands you like and then click to add or remove them from your personalized ad summary.
Another screen allows users to restrict ads to more sensitive topics such as alcohol, gambling, etc. as of April expansion, dating, pregnancy, parenting and weight loss. These are the types of ads that may be welcomed by some users but may be considered harmful by others.
For example, if someone has been struggling to conceive, they may not want to see ads related to pregnancy or parenting. Previously, Google allowed users to set these advertising preferences in the “Ad Settings” section of their Google Account Control Panel. But now these toggles have been combined into a new “My Ad Center” tool.
In particular, the new My Ad Center includes a large button at the top of the screen where users can turn off personalized ads entirely.
But Google believes that most users won’t take this more extreme step.
“We find personalized ads valuable and useful, just like personalized movie recommendations, personalized news recommendations, and personalized commercial recommendations,” says David Tiomkin, director of advertising privacy and trust at Google.
He also explains that this feature, for the first time, offers users the ability to control the content of the ads they see, in addition to privacy ads, and makes the process easier to navigate.
The tool, of course, follows a larger set of changes affecting the advertising industry. Google earlier this year introduced the theme idea, a way for the browser to know the user’s interests as they navigate the web. The system comes after EU competition authorities complained about Google’s plan to stop using cookies using a different method that they say would bolster Google’s bargaining power. With the help of themes, Google categorizes the sites that the user visits, distributing them into one of 300 topics. This theme-based system began testing in March along with other related privacy tools.
As part of these tests, Google said it would offer tools where users can remove interests assigned to them with this theme based on their browsing activities. This new My Ad Center tool combines existing Google tools with the ability to more specifically customize the types of ads shown to you.
My Ad Center Hub is still in development, so the preview offered today at Google I/O may change from now until the product goes public later this year.
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