At this point in your Internet life, it should hopefully come as no great shock that Google watches just about everything you do on the Internet, and one way that they do that is with the cookies that they’ve planted in your browser (in fact if you use both Google and Facebook, it’s a good bet that very little that you do online isn’t being tracked by one or the other, if not both). This includes a tracking cookie that Google has ‘helpfully’ given you for Google ads (that advertising by Google that is known as Adsense to website visitors and publishers, and Adwords to the advertisers who advertise in those ads by Google), based on what they perceive to be your preferences.
Interestingly, Google also gives you a way to modify the information in that cookie, so that Google can show you more advertising that you ‘want’ (for some value of want). Of course, it is to their benefit to do this, as the more appealing you find the advertising, the more likely you are to click on it, and every click means money in Google’s pocket.
There is even a way to opt out of their storing your advertising “preferences” (which we put in quotes because if they are storing your preferences based on your activity online, and not on what you’ve told them, the odds are that what they have aren’t really your preferences). Indeed, Google actually calls them “inferred demographics that Google has associated with your cookie.”
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According to Google, editing your ad preferences that are associated with your Google advertising cookie will help you to “make the ads you see on the web more interesting.”
As Google explains it on the page where you can edit your ad cookie:
“Many websites, such as news sites and blogs, partner with us to show ads to their visitors. To see ads that are more related to you and your interests, edit the categories below, which are based on sites you have recently visited.
Your interests are associated with an advertising cookie that’s stored in your browser. If you don’t want us to store your interests, you can opt out below.”
Here are the preferences and inferred demographics that Google has associated with my (Anne’s) account. What we find most interesting is that with the preferences of “Make-Up & Cosmetics”, “Skin & Nail Care”, and “Candy & Sweets”, clearly Anne is a…. male???
|No Paywall Here! The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?|
Want to see what Google has inferred about you, and edit the categories? Edit your Google ad preferences here.
No Paywall Here!
The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free? Thank you!
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