Web giant Google is rolling out a new version of its "Ad Settings" tool that helps users to manage their targeted ad preferences and get a better picture of what Google knows about them, and it's accessible through both the Google app and a web interface in any browser. The new section allows users to turn off personalized ads entirely, which means that Google will simply show them the most popular and highest-paying ads. It should be noted that turning targeted ads off will not necessarily delete Google's entire suite of information about you; that has to be handled separately.
On top of being able to shut off targeted ads entirely, the new settings menu also allows users to only use targeted ads on Google sites and products, and not with partners across the web, decreasing the likelihood that your data will end up in the wrong hands. The menu also shows you your interests according to Google's data, giving a better picture of what Google knows you like and why you're targeted with certain ad campaigns. Each of these individual interests, such as role-playing games, vehicle repair and maintenance, and hip-hop music can all be individually turned off, allowing you to remove items that you're not actually into or even hand-create your own profile and tell Google yourself what kind of ads and stories you'd be interested in seeing more of.
This move aids in making Google fully compliant with the recently-enacted GDPR, and also gives usres a bit more transparency as to what Google thinks about them and why they see the ads and content that they see. This new feature goes hand in hand with previous similar efforts to give users more control over ads, including things like "Why this ad?" and "Mute this ad". Taken altogether, users now have full, granular control over what kinds of ads Google shows them. It is important to clarify that these changes only apply to Google and its partners within its ad network. Outside of Google's slice of the web and its partners using its ad engine, sites and services can still conduct any sort of data collection and ad targeting they want, within legal limits, no matter what changes you make in this new ad menu or any others.