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Google Profiling User Behaviour To Target Advertising

By March 16, 2009July 30th, 20232 Comments

It has long been known that Google collects large volumes of data from all interactions users have with its various products, services and networks. They have now launched a new set of ad features, based on all the user data they collect, and are calling it ‘Interest-Based Advertising’.

As the name of this feature clearly suggests, ads will now be delivered to users depending on the interests of the user.

User interest will be judged based on Google’s previous interactions with the user. This will not be limited only to direct interaction with Google Search and Google Software but will also extend to tracking sites that the user visits frequently.

Each users will be segmented under one or more categories, based on the web pages visited. Users will be able to view, edit or opt out of the interest categories through the Ads Preference Manager (shown below), which is available on most AdSense ad containers.

AdSense account holders will not need to change their ad code but they will need to make some changes to the privacy policy of their website in order to use this new facility. Google requires AdSense publishers to make all necessary changes to the privacy policy need to be completed before the 8th of April 2009. Publishers will have to make these changes in accordance with the laws of the country they operate from.

Google has made a point of addressing privacy issues that will definitely arise as a result of this announcement. They say they will continue to use user information in accordance with their privacy policy, i.e. they will not use the information to identify the user personally or display ads based on personal or sensitive information unless the user has opted in.

Opting out of the Interest-based Advertising service is not as obvious as Google makes it out to be. This could turn into a point of contention with privacy advocates.

Publishers will obviously benefit from this service as they will be able to better suit their website by increasing the value for advertisers. If the beta test phase of this service goes well, it will be expanded to others later in the year.