I know I’ve signed a “deal with the Devil” when I agree to use Google tools. I know that they track everything I do when using their search engine, and they scan every email that I send and receive using Gmail for their own nefarious purposes. What makes me nuts is when I’m browsing the Web and Google shows ads that relate to things I’m interested in, and things I’ve recently searched for. It’s just too creepy. Is there any way to turn this feature off?
We’re with you. We hate (really hate) seeing ads that track what we’ve recently searched for online. It’s scary and unpleasant. Unfortunately, there’s no way around ads on the Web—someone’s got to pay for all the free services (like Google’s search engine and email), but seeing them ostentatiously track what we’re doing online is just like a slap in the face; a little public pushdown reminding us that Google’s in charge.
So you can’t turn off the ads altogether, but Google does graciously allow you to allow them to serve ads that aren’t directly related to your online behavior. Turning this feature on requires a little effort, but it’s not too difficult.
First, in a browser, log into your Gmail account. Click the icon in the upper-right corner, and select My Account. In the Personal Info & Privacy section, select Ads Settings, then click Manage Ads Settings. Locate the Ads Personalization option, and toggle it off. That’s it!
It may take a while (a long while, perhaps) for personalized ads to slowly disappear. As Google states, you’ll still see ads, they’ll just be of less use to you. You’ll no longer be able to block or mute some ads. Ads may be based on the subject of the Web page you’re viewing, and topics saved in your Ads Settings will be removed.
All in all, you suffer through ads no matter how this setting is configured; by disabling personalized ads, you pay a price a different way. You can try it and choose for yourself. We have turned off personalized ads, just because it feels a tiny bit cleaner. Now to convince Facebook to stop showing us ads from the item we’ve just searched for on Amazon.com! That’s just plain scary!