Google has unveiled what could be described as “the ultimate online preference service”, designed to allow users once and for all to opt-out of receiving ads linked to their Internet activity.
Dubbed “My Activity”, the scheme offers a much more in-depth view than a browser history can offer, and is claimed to provide a searchable history of almost everything consumers do online.
The new tool will show everything from the Netflix programmes and YouTube videos consumers have watched, to sites they have visited, the things they have searched for, as well as the Google products they have used.
The tool’s detailed results will show search terms, the times and frequency of websites visited, as well as what device and browser used. But in addition to allowing users to review everything Google has collected about them, the tool also lets them edit and delete items from the list.
It also offers users the option of suspending the web and application tracking activity, although this might preclude consumers from certain services.
The company said: “We think these new features will make your Google experience even better. When you use Google services like Search and YouTube, you generate data – for example, things you’ve searched for, or videos you’ve watched. You can find and control that data in My Account under the Web & App Activity setting.
“With this change, this setting may also include browsing data from Chrome and activity from sites and apps that partner with Google, including those that show ads from Google. Google will use this information to make ads across the web more relevant to you.”
However, while the scheme is designed to improve the ad experience for users and take the heat off criticism over the company’s online dominance, Google is no fool; it will also allow the firm to charge a premium to advertisers to use the new opt-in data.
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