Google attacking the very ads that it makes money off of? Why and how?

June 18, 2018 12:42 pm

Remember that time you were browsing those amazing watches and your YouTube got flooded by those pesky “free watch, just pay shipping” ads?

It happens all the time.

But now, Google will let you ban those for good.

Read: Facebook to ban misleading ads. Will it be really effective?


Google, the world’s largest digital ad-seller, is expanding a set of controls that let people restrict ads and personal-targeting criteria, the company said.

Alphabet’s Google has since 2012 built a “mute” feature to help users opt out of certain types of banner ads.

Now, the search giant is expanding that to its entire ad suite, including on YouTube and Gmail.

Users will be able to restrict specific brands or companies, like an apparel or camera maker, and instead be shown alternative ads, Google added.

It collected approximately $95 billion in ad sales last year, but the company has an entrusted interest in keeping users satisfied with the frequency and content of online marketing, according to Statista, a data site. “Although it’s treading more cautiously given heightening scrutiny of how internet giants use personal information to target consumers,” added Statista.

“Billions of people trust us with their data every day,” said Brad Bender, the vice president who runs Google’s display ads business. “We have a strong incentive to be clear about what we collect to make our services, including ads, better for users.”

The muting features arrive through a new online portal called Ad Settings, where Google explains how it targets marketing and what online behavior it tracks.

While it’s faced less political pressure than primary rival Facebook, Google’s privacy policies have come under fire in the European Union. This move comes to prevent another Facebook – Cambridge Analytica scandal for Google.

Read: Play time: 4 reasons why brands need to get into gaming (not Candy Crush)

Play, pause, mute?

Google estimates people muted five billion ads online last year; they’ll now be able to tune out far more, according to The Register UK, a news source.

However, users need to be logged into their Google accounts to enjoy in restricting ads across both mobile and desktop devices, Bender said. Logged-in users help Google better compete with Facebook for ad dollars.

Bender said he doesn’t expect the muting ability to dampen ad sales. Instead, marketers could glean a more accurate snapshot of what types of ads annoy people and not just which ones they click on. “It actually enables them to get more efficiency over time,” he said.

While Google is focused on muting the pesky eyes on the web, Apple is focused on ripping them out entirely with their new Safari update.

Read: Everything you need to know to buy the best smartphone today

Ripping into the rival’s business

According to the Wired, a tech site, Apple’s recent WWDC (worldwide developers’ conference) gave us a glimpse of what the company is planning.

So, the tech giant is blocking all cookies; no, not the sweet kind.

Websites always use cookies to track you, and this can sometimes be beneficial for the user. With cookies, websites keep a tab on where you are in their website, not requiring you for your log-in info every minute when you surf.

But, tracking you with cookies has the distinct disadvantage of targeting you with ads related to your viewing preferences in other site locations.

Apple is keen on removing those tracking tools with their new Safari update by removing the crumbs of cookies you leave everywhere you go. The way they are doing this is by updating their Safari browsers on all their Apple devices.

How well will this work? Only time will tell as the update is scheduled to be released this Fall.


Edmon Abdul Nur
By Edmon Abdul Nur
Technology Editor
Edmon Abdul Nur has more than 3 years of professional experience in technology research, cybersecurity testing, and IT understanding.