Yes, Virginia, Google’s New Privacy Policy Lets You Opt Out Of Sharing Your Data

    January 27, 2012
    Drew Bowling
    Comments are off for this post.

We asked, now we answer: Google’s new Privacy Policy will not force you into accepting any vampiric habits of Google to vulture information from you for the purpose of advertisements. If you don’t want them to.

Since Google announced the changes to their Privacy Policy, which will go into effect this coming March, people all over the Internets have been taking turns at their best Chicken Little impressions by decrying the death of privacy and end of control over how their personal information gets used. Some people even threatened to axe their Google accounts altogether. Really!

Turns out, Google’s not putting their users in an info-farming full-nelson after all. In fact, it’s going to continue to be just as easy to opt out of customized ads under the new Privacy Policy as it is under the current policy.

Earlier today, a spokesperson from Google Corporate Communications, Eitan Bencuya, confirmed with WebProNews that, yes, “the Ads Preferences Manager will still exist after March 1. Users do not need to opt-out again.”

Did you see what Mr. Bencuya did there? Not only will the option to opt out of Google’s Display Network ads (that’s their name for software that generates ads based on your interests and demographics – information they cull from your browsing habits) but you only have to do it once. You won’t be grandfathered in under the new policy and then have to repeat the opt out again. Just do it once, and that’s it.

So, then, how do you do this? Well, go to the Ad Preferences Manager while signed into your Google account. If Google is collecting information from your browsing habits, you’ll see a page that looks like this:

If you don’t see this page, you may be met with a different page that reads:

No interest or demographic categories are associated with your ads preferences so far. You can add or edit interests and demographics at any time.

If you see that “No interest” message, guess what: you’ve likely already opted out of Google’s customized ads, so they’re not tracking and using your info. High five!

Anyways, back to those of you still desiring to opt out. While you’re on the page like the screenshot above, you can take a look at what Google’s profile on you looks like. If you like, you can click on the “remove or edit” link in the center of the page to change up your categories as you please. However, if you want to completely opt out of Google tracking your info in order to create ads, look to the left-hand menu and click on the obvious words, “Opt out.” You should arrive on this page:

I’m sure you can figure out what to do from here.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a nuclear option you’re choosing. If for some reason you really want to go back and opt in to Google’s personal ads-from-your-info policy again, you can return to this page to flip it on.

Also, note the last paragraph on that page and consider the suggestions about minimizing your online data trail even more if you want to browse as privately as possible (whatever that even means in this day and age). Do what you will with the further options, but that’s it.

So what did we learn today class? Google is not the information vulture you thought it was. True, they may still be tracking us in ways we won’t be (or don’t want to be) aware of, but as far as including your information into the algorithms that produce ads based on your interests, this is how you control how much (or little) you give them.

Honestly, though, this really isn’t any different from what they were already doing.

Now see? Google’s not so bad after all, is it? Now go back to your Google account and kiss and make up.

  • Matt Cutts

    Thank you Drew. You and other brave WebPro “News” members have been brave and very honest in telling the truth. The Google truth.

    Let me know if your traffic goes down during any update and I’ll “check it out.”

    • West Derwin

      Matt. Your reply is ridiculous. You know that people can’t fully opt out of google, and you must know their policies are, and have been, questioned for some time. It is a fact that select politicians and privacy groups are currently asking google about their policies including a request for an opt out option. That is a fact…google it! And sure…we can tweak certain settings in our preferences, but we can’t opt out. The author’s title is totally misleading, and again, your reply is ridiculous and it is a fact that one of the following is true: you either don’t know what you ae talking about (and I doubt that is the case), or you are a liar (who is part of the google monster). Everyone needs to know that google will not let us opt out.

  • Really

    Non-customized ads =/= privacy.

    • zillah975


      It isn’t the advertising that bothers me, it’s the way Google has started acting like the creepy guy who “just wants to make your life easier” so he reads your email over your shoulder and then shows up uninvited at dinner time with the movie you added to your Netflix queue and the bottle of wine your friend recommended and doesn’t understand why this freaks you out.

      I used to love Google. :(

  • http://.. Catherine.

    I can’t find the opt-out button on Google.

  • Maquisha

    Thanks for this information! I didn’t agree with anything and I wonder what fucking cock munching dip shit came up with this? Holy piss! I hope Google doesn’t go bankrupt.

  • Will

    …folks, this is a wake up. Just because they have been doing it for a decade behind our backs doesn’t mean it’s right. I want to use services that guarantee my anonymity and privacy- if those services don’t exist I WILL go old fashioned and suppliment, like pick up a book.
    We did just fine way back in 1999.

  • Ig

    What a tool… Pompous ass.

  • yomamma

    well that’s nice to know that google won’t make users opt out twice from customized adds, but the main concern voiced by many has been the association of google owned user accounts with each other.

    google’s hands are far reaching with many little fingers in many big pies. the question is the survival of our personal anonymity or alter-egos that we create on the web.

    Can we still be the professional firstname.lastname@google.com user without that data being linked to our jedi-knight/numanuma impressions on our youtube account ?

  • http://bloketoys.co.uk Conran

    This is not about customized ads for me, or for many millions of others furious over their changes.
    To try to “deflect” genuine outrage at some of the nefarious changes Google is making which WILL affect privacy is disingenuous to say the least.

  • juxtos

    You just mentioned the ad tracking feature of Google. What about the searchs done through your emails, calendar, and online documents? How do we opt out of that?

  • rick

    I don’t think my searches, emails or social events should be analyzed, grouped or stored by any institution. McArthyism wasn’t too popular a while ago. Why start it up again ?

    • rick

      McCarthyism. Hey it’s early.

    • West Derwin

      Great question, and the answer is that we can not opt out of these items. Personally, I don’t care that google knows what’s on my computers and my phoneS, but from a philosophical point of view, they tricked us with their policies and forever changed what is private. We have been duped by the Google Monster. If any don’t believe that google is acting VERY questionably, then do your research and you will quickly see that google is being investigated by respectful politicians and privacy groups. Also, the guy who made the first comment above is either a total liar, or he is not at the Google X level which would make him just an ignorant Tool…just another cog that is a part of the Google Monster. And what does he even mean by the “Google Truth?” Anyway, if anyone doesn’t have time to google these topics and see that what i am saying is the real Truth, then I’m happy to email factual news stories so that you can see for yourself. I welcome any and all questions and will answer them with Truth only. West Derwin: west@westderwin.com

  • West Derwin

    Drew. I respect your knowledge,, but your article is misleading in that you make it seem that we have the right to fully opt out of google, when in Truth, we do not. Read on: There are things that we can opt out of, and you mention one, but everyone needs to know that there is not a full opt out option offered by google.. I used to trust google, but.no more and others shouldn’t either. I love many things about google, but they are not to be trusted. I know that psychologists and physicians have been instructed not to use gmail services to store their patients information…contacts….emails, etc. Has the author of this article ever read all of their policies? I am inclined to think not. Either way, look into it further and you will see that THERE IS NOT AN OPT OUT OF GOOGLE OPTION. We have become google’s product and not their consumers.

  • West Derwin

    I meant to also say that it is the title of your article that is perhaps te most misleading.