At Google’s I/O Developer Conference, the company showcased a new tool that later this year will allow users to better control and see how their ads are personalized across Google apps and sites. Google, including Google Search, YouTube, and Discover in the Google app.
From a new three-dot menu that will appear on all ads across the various sites, users will be able to interact with the ad in multiple ways. They’ll be able to like or share it, block or report it, see who paid for it, and find out why they were targeted with it.
And if users don’t want to see such ads, they can use the built-in tools in this menu or visit the new My Ads Center hub to notify Google of this preference. To access the hub, users simply click on the menu option that says “customize more ads you see” to be directed to the new experience.
In the new My Ad Center hub, users will be able to learn more about how ads are personalized and take control over how their data is used, Google says. It is specifically intended to address ads appearing on sites owned and operated by Google, such as Search, YouTube, and Discover, but does not extend to the Google Display Network.
From the hub’s home screen, users will be able to enable or disable various ad categories by clicking the plus and minus buttons in a variety of categories, such as fitness, vacation rentals, personal care skin and many more. For example, if you want to see fewer beauty ads, you can simply click to remove them from your lineup.
You can also browse a screen featuring the brands you love, then click to add or remove them from your personalized ads roundup.
Another screen allows users to limit ads on more sensitive topics, such as alcohol ads, gambling and, starting with the April expansion, dating, pregnancy, parenting and weight loss. These are the types of ads that might be welcomed by some users, but might be harmful to others.
For example, if someone was having trouble conceiving, they might not want to see ads related to pregnancy or parenthood. Previously, Google allowed users to adjust these ad preferences in the Ads Settings section of their Google Account dashboard. But now those toggles are consolidated into the new My Ad Center tool.
Most notably, the new My Ad Center hub includes a large button at the top of the screen where users can choose to opt out of personalized ads altogether.
But Google thinks most users won’t take this more extreme step.
“We consider personalized ads to be valuable and useful, just like personalized movie recommendations, personalized news recommendations, personalized business recommendations,” says David Temkin, director of advertising privacy and trust at Google.
He further explains that this feature gives first-time users the ability to control the content of the ads they see, beyond sensitive ads, and make it easier to navigate that process.
The tool, of course, tracks a broader set of changes impacting the advertising industry. Google earlier this year introduced the idea of Topics, a way for the browser to learn a user’s interests as they move around the web. The system came about after complaints from EU antitrust regulators over Google’s plan to depreciate cookies using a different method they say would strengthen Google’s market power.With Topics, Google categorizes the sites a user visits by categorizing them into the one of 300 topics.This topic-based system began testing in March, alongside other related privacy tools.
As part of the trials, Google said it would offer tools where users could remove the interests assigned to them by this topic-based monitoring from their browsing activities. This new My Ad Center tool combines Google’s existing tools with the ability to more specifically customize the types of ads shown to you.
My Ad Center Hub is still under development, so the preview offered on Google I/O today may change by the time the product is released to the public later this year.