Concerned about what the internet knows about you? There’s a good chance that several internet companies have detailed portfolios on you and what your interests are. A TikTok video went viral recently for showing just how much Google knows about you.
TikTok user @yorgoandlea posted a how-to video explaining the steps you can take to see what Google knows about you. The easy-to-do exercise will expose what Google believes is your age, gender, interests, potential products or services you’ll buy or have already purchased, what stores you shop at, companies of ads you’ve clicked on before, your preferred hobbies, places you’ve traveled to or have shown interest in traveling to, and what kind of media you consume. Big brother is watching.
As the video explains, you can do a Google search of “ad settings google.” The first or second result will then display everything Google knows about you, from your favorite brand of beer to your most-beloved football team to your most-visited burger joint. The page will also display your interests such as “celebrities,” “country music,” “fitness,” “pets,” and “TV comedies.”
Google says, “Ads are based on personal info you’ve added to your Google Account, data from advertisers that partner with Google, and Google’s estimation of your interests.”
Google gives you control over the ads you see, which once you personalize your preference will “make the ads you see more useful or get ads that are specific to you.”
To change what ads you see:
- Edit your info or interests
- Go to your Google Account.
- On the left navigation panel, click Data & personalization.
- On the Ad personalization panel, click Go to ad settings.
- Turn on Ad Personalization if it’s off.
- Under “How your ads are personalized,” select your personal info or interests.
- To update your info, select Update. Follow the steps on the screen.
- To turn off an interest, select Turn off. Confirm by selecting Turn off.
- To bring back an interest, select What you’ve turned off. Choose an interest and select Turn back on.
- If don’t want personalized ads, turn off Ad Personalization. Learn more about stopping personalized ads.
Last week, Google released a statement claiming that the internet behemoth is “Charting a course towards a more privacy-first web.” Google shared results from the Pew Research Center that found that “72% of people feel that almost all of what they do online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms or other companies, and 81% say that the potential risks they face because of data collection outweigh the benefits.”
Google admits that the constant tracking through cookies has “led to an erosion of trust,” and have attempted to introduced steps to gain the confidence of users.
“That’s why last year Chrome announced its intent to remove support for third-party cookies, and why we’ve been working with the broader industry on the Privacy Sandbox to build innovations that protect anonymity while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers,” Google stated. “Today, we’re making explicit that once third-party cookies are phased out, we will not build alternate identifiers to track individuals as they browse across the web, nor will we use them in our products.”