Got an Ad You Can’t Shake?

Got an Ad You Can’t Shake?

It's Friday night ...

And your brother calls. He's getting ready for the weekend and has a question about his lawnmower. You answer it, shoot the breeze for a bit, and then hang up. It's been a long week and your main objective is to make sure your recliner doesn't escape.

So, you're chillaxin and decide to fire up your tablet to bump around some sites on the Web. But something is putting you a little bit on edge because, creepily, every web site you visit shows banner ads for lawnmowers! You try one site after another and another and you cannot stop seeing the ads! They are popping out from the left, the right, top and bottom, and even floating across the screen. Dude! What's going on here! Is something in my beer? Or, did someone or something hear me chat with my brother about his lawnmower?

Creepy ads are a daily occurrence.

Unfortunately, this is a scenario that plays out repeatedly every day that makes people wonder if Mr. Google is listening and if we are all under surveillance. Well, Google does record audio, but only if you tell it to, usually through one of its voice recognition products. Otherwise, it just uses cookies to send targeted advertising to you. Other browsers, web sites, and Facebook do the same thing.

To learn more, check out this video from CBS News:

Try this!

So, here's a fun exercise for you that might provide some insight:

  1. Sign in to your Google account (if you have one).
  2. In the upper-right corner, click your profile picture, then select Google Account.
  3. On the left-navigation menu, click Data & personalization.
  4. Scroll down to the "Activity and timeline" section and click My Activity. A day-by-day breakdown of your activity on Google displays.
  5. Select a day and click Details. An "Item details" window displays.
  6. On the window, click Ad Settings. See where it says "Ad personalization"? This is one way that Google targets ads to users. You can leave it on or turn it off.
  7. Click MORE OPTIONS. See what's checked? That checkbox, my friend, is what solves the case of the never-ending ads! If you want to reduce the number of creepy ads you see, then uncheck this box and turn ad personalization off.

Here's how to duck for cover.

If you would like to browse the Web without fear of being tracked, then there is hope. Give the DuckDuckGo browser a try and let us know how it turns out! As always, if you have questions or concerns about the privacy of your information online, then contact us today!