How to opt out of Google Targeted Ads

Recently, Google announced a new ad-targeting system that tracks where you go on the web, and tailors future ads to your interests. According to the announcement:

These ads will associate categories of interest — say sports, gardening, cars, pets — with your browser, based on the types of sites you visit and the pages you view. We may then use those interest categories to show you more relevant text and display ads.

So whatever site you visit will be recorded and eventually, ads based on your browsing history will be shown. It will even track down your browsing behavior. If you put a shiny new Nikon D700 in your shopping cart, but never actually purchase it, Google will offer advertisers a way to place ads for the D700. Think of it as a way of constantly reminding you of the things you’re lusting after.

Creepy, right? Fortunately, Google offers ways to opt out of the new targeted ads system. They even provide a preference, and a browser plug-in, that can keep behavior-snooping bots at bay.

Log into your Google account and go over to the Google Ads Preferences page, wherein opting out puts in a cookie on your browser that will stop that pesky bot from monitoring and targeting ads. Obviously, the problem with that is whenever you clear your cookies (which most privacy-paranoid people are prone to do anyway), you need to opt out again. Which kind of sucks, because we want something that’s more permanent.

There’s the second option, an Opt-Out Preferences plugin that basically does the same job as the cookie, but this time its more permanent. Just go to the link and install it, the the DoubleClick cookie will be blocked from your browser as long as you have it on your PC. Unfortunately, the plugin is only for Internet Explorer and Firerfox. If you’re on Chrome, Safari or even Opera, there’s no way for you to use the plugin.