What Google Knows About You and What You Can Do About It
by Matthew Gilligan
People are worried about their privacy these days and you can’t really blame them: it seems like every time you click on a webpage, sign in to an account, or buy something online, your personal information flies all over the place.
And Google uses this information to see what kinds of things you’re interested in so the company can show you ads for things you might want to buy when you’re browsing the web.
But did you know you can take a look at your Google profile and choose to opt out of the company’s data-collection process if you want to? It’s true, and a lot of people don’t realize that it’s an option.
If you want to see what your profile looks like, here’s what you need to do:
- Click on your Google avatar (it’s usually in top right-hand corner of your screen).
- Select Manage Your Google Account.
- Choose Data & Privacy.
- Scroll down and Ad Settings, choose Ad Personalization.
The toggle switch for Ad Personalization is probably already on because it’s the default and that means Google is using your data to direct ads at you. Feel free to turn off the toggle switch if that’s what you want, but you might want to take a look at the categories Google has selected for you to see how accurate they are before you shut ’em down.
These categories include age, gender, and language and you can Update or Manage them if you want to. After that are the interests that Google thinks you have based on your browsing history. The company tends to get a lot of these wrong, so don’t be surprised if they’re off the mark.
You can choose to turn off your interests one by one or you can just turn everything off by using the toggle switch next to Ad Personalization that we mentioned earlier.
It’s all up to you!