Google To Give Users Control Of Ad Content They See Across Its Properties

Google has previewed a forthcoming launch of a feature it calls My Ad Center that will give people more control of the ads they see across Search, Discover, and YouTube.

The move, in theory, will encourage people to engage more often with ads and advertisers, while improving the user experience.

My Ad Center, scheduled for release later this year, allows people to control the ads they see and manage privacy settings, either directly from the ads or through the My Ad Center hub. It will tie into their Google account.

Eventually, Google plans to release My Ad Center controls to all Google owned-and-operated properties, including Gmail.

Every ad seen on Google properties will have the same entry point to make the change through My Ad Center, explained David Temkin, senior director of product management ads privacy and user trust at Google, during a press briefing.

“This is a major step forward in terms of clarity, accessibility and control,” Temkin said. “Users have told us loud and clear it makes them feel better about their ad experience when they are in control.”  

"We think this gives users control over the algorithm," Temkin said --by allowing My Ad Center to block an ad, see who paid for it, and learn why they were served a specific ad based on activity or information shared with Google. There is also a place to indicate when the user wants to see more or less on a given topic or brand -- perhaps from brands the user favors or wants to know more about.

It allows people to find things such as personalized movie, commerce, and news recommendations. He said these are not targeting categories, but topic categories for ads that people want to see more of less often.

“We are not changing how data is used,” he said. “We are giving users a whole lot more control.”

When asked if and how Topic segment targeting for Chrome used by advertisers for ad targeting impacts the My Ad Center topic category for users, Temkin said the My Ad Center categories are about the topic categories, and the Topics targeting for advertisers is about the inferred interest of users.

“It will not impact the display network, but we do intend to [apply it to] all Google owned-and-operated properties over time,” he said.

The inferred categories are based on machine-learning technology. The information can be verified by the user by going into the My Ad Center hub.

“With all the work we’re doing in the Privacy Sandbox, it will not be possible, because of all the removal of third-party cookies, for anything on to affect settings across the web,” he said. “The controls on sites other than Google -- the controls will be in a given site or app from that publisher or app developer, or platform level, inside of Chrome or inside of Android like Privacy Sandbox -- choose your topics.”

The data collected from My Ad Center will not become accessible to advertisers -- at least not at first -- but it will influence the brand’s targeting.

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